grand challenge 033_small.jpgIt's been an open secret in drone-making circles for months. Now it's official: Darpa will run a second all-robot, off-road rally in the fall of 2005. And this time, the Grand Challenge is worth $2 million.The race is set for October 8 of next year, with a competitors' conference on tap for August 14, 2004. Slashot says that the major racing teams from this year's Challenge will be back -- including Carnegie Mellon and CalTech.The self-driving cars are sure to get further than they did in the first race, when no drone made it past the seven mile mark. Several teams insist that only minor mechanical glitches -- and lack of preparation time -- kept them from venturing deep into the Mojave Desert, where the rally was run.But whether any of the drones can actually complete the 2005 Grand Challenge course, and nab that $2 million prize, remains very much an open question.

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