Sunday, March 14

Losing $1 Million

The greatest desert billing of the century: Design an off-road vehicle that is
autonomously remote-controlled. Use infra-red technology, sonar, video,
whatever you want. All you have to do is maintain its life over 140 miles of
rock and roll desert in southern California and Nevada. Then sit back and
enjoy your greatly deserved wealth.

A week ago or so, there were at least 25 entries, including a robot motorcycle.
This particular entry crashed 150 times in tests and was disqualified before the
race. Others were pared, as well, so at the official start Saturday only 13 entries
competed for the title of desert robot champ.

This 'project' was sponsored by the Pentagon, paid for by you and me, and was
a dismal failure. Most of the vehicles broke down within eye-shot of the starting
line. A few made it a few more miles. One of them completed seven before its wheels
got stuck on an 'obstacle', kept spinning and caught on fire. OOOOOKKKAAAAYYY!

And where are we now? Back to the brainstorming backyard of roboteering
engineering. Back to trying for 14 miles next year.

I want to personally thank all of you who made entries, lost, and saved me a few
dollars in taxes. On the other hand, I'll save a lot more as soon as you learn how
we can fight a personnel-free war.

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