Robot car learns rules of the road

The two guys nearly fell off their bikes staring at a Lotus Elise roadster as it rumbled past them on N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus.

Nobody was driving the curvy blue sports car. The cyclists struggled for words.”Hey,” one said. “Is that, uh, automatic?”

He looked for an explanation from a half dozen NCSU students and middle-aged engineers in a pickup truck. They wore matching red T-shirts and grins.

They never get tired of turning heads with the car they call Lone Wolf, a car they are teaching to drive itself.

Lone Wolf is North Carolina’s only entry in a four-year Pentagon contest to help build driverless vehicles for future wars. Congress wants one-third of all U.S. battlefield vehicles to be able to operate without drivers by 2015.

The competition is tough. Only five robot vehicles finished the Pentagon’s 132-mile Desert Challenge race in 2005.

Source:  News and Observer

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