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The mission to accomplish

To succeed in the DARPA Urban Challenge, teams' robot cars must safely complete a simulated battlefield-supply mission on a 60-mile "urban" course. The setting replicates the environment in which many of today's battlefield missions are conducted, according to the DARPA Web site.

Below are some of the challenges the vehicles will face:

• Stay in the lanes

• Travel to all designated "military" checkpoints

• Get out of dead-end streets

• Maintain all speed limits and not go more than 30 mph

• Make U-turns

• Turn at intersections, staying in the assigned lanes

• Navigate around moving and stationary objects without crashing into them

• Drive in reverse

• Park in parking spaces and back out of them

• Negotiate intersections with two, three or more stopped cars

• Negotiate complex road configurations, such as T-stops

• Negotiate lane endings due to construction or hazards

• Negotiate traffic circles

• Stop at stop signs

• Follow all traffic laws

• Drive successfully on off-road, unpaved surfaces

• Where there are no lanes, detect roadside berms and not crash into them

• Complete the 60-mile race in under 6 hours

Sue Dremann

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