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Robotic-Car Maker Sebastian Thrun on DARPA’s Next Grand Challenge: Traffic!

August 8, 2006

Last year, Sebastian Thrun, director of Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, headed up the team that won the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s first “Grand Challenge” by creating an autonomous vehicle that completed a 211-kilometer course in the Mojave Desert. Here he talks about the even greater difficulties presented by DARPA’s next Grand Challenge: creating a car that can navigate city traffic on its own. To say Thrun is enthusiastic about robotic cars is an understatement, but he also acknowledges that many of us will still want to drive on our own vehicle.

Thrun will discuss in more detail the future of robotic cars in an upcoming vlog, as well as in his keynote address at this year’s Emerging Technologies Conference at MIT.

Deep Dive

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Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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