10-08-05 08:30am PDR
Three entries have been eliminated. Team Cornell's Spider washed out about an hour and 15 minutes and 25 miles into the race, while the MITRE Meteorites and Indy Robot Racing Team have scratched before leaving the starting pit.
Red Team Too's H1ghlander continues to lead the pack, having crossed 50 miles of the Mojave in just over two hours. Stanley and Sandstorm are in quick pursuit, though, and are only a few miles behind the race leader.
DAD has jumped up into fourth place, and Spirit has overcome its slow early goings to move into fifth.
More details on the eliminations as they become available.
Passing the Grandstand
10-08-05 07:35am PDT
A little more than 8 miles into the course, teams loop back too a corridor near the grandstand, sirens and lights blazing to the cheers of hundreds of spectators.
As the bots approach the corridor, they almost seem shy to pass a second time. But, after carefully negotiating a small turn and a couple of bumps, their courage picks up and they blast through the final leg of the first section of the course.
H1ghlander passed through about 20 minutes after it left the gates, with Stanley and Sandstorm 7 and 12 minutes behind respectively. Fifteen minutes later, Desert Tortoise came tearing through with DAD hot on its heels â€ both contestants have passed Axion Racing's Spirit, which haltingly passed 4 minutes later.
The trucks must negotiate a sharp turn and a steep incline just after the corridor, but these won't be close to the trickiest obstacles they encounter today-especially with reports of a loose cow on the course.
Meanwhile, UCLA's Golem Group cheers on Golem 2, the seventh vehicle to blast out of the gates this cloudy morning. As Golem 2 takes off, it honks a melody Tchaikovsky would be proud off. "We did that for the benefit of the drivers in the chase vehicles," says one Golem Group team member. "Actually," he laughs, "they asked us to change it because it's so annoying, but we told them that was too hard."
10.08.05 07:35 AM PDT
It's only an hour into the race, and records are already being set. Seems too good to be true: Six teams are out on the course, no one's broken down so far, and race starter H1ghlander has made it through 28 miles of rocky desert terrain, going four times farther than last year's top-finishing team! Even if the race ended right here, Darpa couldn't ask for a better public relations coup.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.