In March of 2004, the United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) held a competition in the Nevada desert called the Grand Challenge. The purpose was to determine if an autonomous, driverless car could negotiate a 150-mile off-road course on its own. The prize? A cool one million dollars.
Fifteen teams representing Carnegie-Mellon University and a variety of privately funded teams competed in the Challenge. Each team had equipped their car with a multitude of cameras, sensors, GPS units, and onboard computers in addition to off-road tires and heavy-duty suspensions.
Not one of the fifteen vehicles completed the challenge.