Coming this fall: Battle of the self-driving cars

While fuel cells have to potential to cut the carbon emissions of cars down to zero, they do nothing about the other major concern with automobiles: car accidents. Don't worry, though — defense-research agency DARPA is tackling that one, holding a competition later this year to showcase vehicles that can drive themselves. DARPA's Urban Challenge, to be held this November, will see 30 research teams from all over the world compete to see who has designed the best autonomous vehicle by putting them all through a simulated military supply mission. The top prize is $1 million.

One of the competitors is MIT, whose team developed the Robocar shown in the pic. Tested last week, the self-driving land rover has a complex apparatus on the roof that helps it navigate. Have to applaud DARPA for picking up the ball on robot cars — I mean, we're about to get orbital skydiving, but we're having trouble with Knight Rider technology?

DARPA, via MIT

Thanks to Jenn for the tip!