Grand Challenge 2004

Source: DARPA

In 2002, DARPA announced the first Grand Challenge: "Build a robotic vehicle able to travel unassisted on a predefined path of about 130 miles through the Mojave Desert. The fastest robot to navigate the course in less than 10 hours will take home $1 million." The first competition was scheduled in March 2004.

Team CajunBot quickly formed. A group of professors and students from the University of Louisiana banded together to take on the 2004 Challenge. The first CajunBot vehicle was ready within a few short months. It was built on a 6-wheeled all-terrain vehicle commonly used for hunting in the swamps and marshlands.

Team CajunBot, energized by the tremendous support from the Lafayette community, defied odds and competed successfully in the qualification rounds, earning a place among the 13 teams selected tos compete in the finals.

Source: DARPA
No team managed to complete the 2004 Grand Challenge course, but DARPA was encouraged by the results. It brought together engineers and inventors and managed to channel their energies into the development of important technologies designed to save American lives on the battlefield.

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