Well, the Cardinal bested the team from Carnegie Mellon with their tricked-out autonomous Volkswagen nicknamed Stanley on Saturday in the DARPA Grand Challenge. The stock Tuoareg was modded with all sorts of high-tech guidance and obstacle avoidance technologies, and averaged around 19mph as it crossed over 130 miles of terrain varying from dry lakebed to tunnels and a rocky pass. Carnegie-Mellon's Red Team and their two modified Hummers came in a close second and third. CalTech's Alice team, though, veered off course towards some spectators at the 8.3 mile mark and was shut down.

While DARPA wants this technology for delivering supplies to troops in the field, the advances could lead to improvements in safety for regular cars, and we're that much closer to not having to drive at all ("Hey, Miss Daisy, What Are You Doing?"). Though SFist thinks the next DARPA grand challenge should somehow involve finding parking in San Francisco, something that boggles the brightest of Bay Area minds.

Photo by Justin M.