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Conference Discussion Version (5.3)

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These draft Rules of the DARPA Grand Challenge of Autonomous Ground Vehicles may not necessarily become the official Rules. They have been developed to facilitate discussion during the Challenge Conference scheduled for February 22, 2003.

Notwithstanding any Rule, or the acceptance by DARPA of any technical paper, or any inspection or demonstration required as a condition of Participating in the Grand Challenge, DARPA makes no representation as to the safety of any Vehicle entered in the Grand Challenge.

1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose of Challenge

DARPA is seeking to promote various technical approaches that will enable the autonomous operation of unmanned ground combat vehicles. In the future, such combat vehicles will operate over various terrain without the benefit of road signs, pre-programmed routes, etc. Autonomous vehicles must navigate from point to point in an intelligent manner so as to avoid or accommodate obstacles and other impediments to the completion of their missions. For example, an extremely large vehicle that simply travels on a straight line between two points by climbing over or breaking through everything in its path (and destroying what cannot support that movement) is not the type of intelligent solution that is sought. Vehicles that cannot demonstrate intelligent autonomous behavior will not be accepted as Participants.

1.2 Date(s) of Challenge

The date of the Grand Challenge is March 13, 2004. In the event that there is no winner in the 2004 Challenge, subsequent Grand Challenges will be held approximately annually until there is a winner or until Congressional authority to award the Grand Challenge prize expires. The current expiration date is September 30, 2007.

1.3 Place of Challenge

The Challenge is expected to begin in the vicinity of Los Angeles, and end in the vicinity of Las Vegas.

1.4 Route Description

The route is expected to encompass surfaced and un-surfaced roads, trails, and off-road areas. Man-made and natural obstacles—both above and below the surface of the average terrain—are likely. Examples of obstacles include ditches, open water, rocks, underpasses, and construction. All obstructions on the route can be either accommodated or avoided by a commercial 4X4 pick-up truck.

The Route consists of the Departure Line, Waypoints, and an Arrival Line. One or more Checkpoint Areas requiring a mandatory stop may be designated, but Checkpoint Areas are not part of the Route due to the special activities allowed within. Any designated Checkpoint Area will have associated Waypoints that describe the entry and exit gates, and parking area for each team’s Challenge Vehicle.

1.4.1 Checkpoint Area

A Checkpoint is a required stop between the Departure and Arrival Lines. The Safety Vehicle occupants can be rotated or refreshed at Checkpoints during a 20-minute time allowance. The elapsed time for each vehicle will stop during the mandatory portion of a stop. In addition, an entry may be serviced autonomously (for example, refueled or cleaned). Any required autonomous servicing equipment must be placed at the checkpoint prior to the Challenge beginning. The location(s) of the Checkpoint Area(s) will be provided well in advance of the Challenge.

1.4.2 Waypoint Locations

Waypoints are two-dimensional locations (latitude, longitude) that collectively define the Route. Contestants will be given a maximum time to reach each waypoint. Vehicles that do not reach a waypoint in the maximum allotted time will be disqualified and must promptly be removed from the Route. The maximum time given to contestants to reach each waypoint will be greater than the time corresponding to the pace required to win the cash prize. The location of the waypoints will be provided two hours before the Challenge in a format that will be described in the official Rules of the Challenge.

1.4.3 Arrival Line

1.4.4 Arrival Area

1.5 Prize

DARPA will award one million U.S. dollars to the Team Lead that completes the Route with the best corrected time and within the specified maximum finishing time. There are no other prizes. If there is no winner in the 2004 Challenge, subsequent Challenges will be held approximately annually until the prize is awarded or until Congressional authority for the prize expires. The current Congressional authorization expires on September 30, 2007.

No government contract or other incentive is promised as a result of this Challenge.

2. Terms

Terms used in the Rules are capitalized when their definition is described below.

2.1 Rules

The Rules posted at are the only official Rules of the 2004 DARPA Grand Challenge of Autonomous Ground Vehicles.

2.2 Official

An Official is any person tasked by any governmental agency for the purpose of administering or monitoring any aspect of the Grand Challenge.

2.3 Entrant

An Entrant is an eligible entity (see section 3) that has submitted a completed Application Form to DARPA. An Entrant that does not become a Participant and attends the Challenge does so as a Spectator.

2.4 Participant

A Participant is an Entrant that has received final acceptance from DARPA to start the Challenge.

2.5 Press Member

A Press Member is anyone who is accredited as such by DARPA.

2.6 Spectator

A Spectator is any person who is not a Participant, Official, or Press Member.

2.7 Depart

2.8 Departure

2.9 Departed

2.10 Arrive

2.11 Arriving

2.12 Arrived

2.13 Participating

2.14 Team Leader

A Team Leader is the eligible entity responsible for a team; and is the entity that will receive the prize if its team wins.

2.15 Challenge Team

The Challenge Team consists of those and only those people who have been designated as such by the Team Leader in the entrance application submitted to DARPA.

2.16 Winner

The Winner is the Participant whose Challenge vehicle has completed the prescribed Route in the least corrected time, and in less than the specified maximum finishing time.

2.17 Chief Judge

The Chief Judge is the person designated by DARPA as such. The Chief Judge is the final authority on all rulings.

2.18 Field Judge

A Field Judge is a person assigned by DARPA to travel in a team’s Safety Vehicle for safety and judging purposes.

2.19 Timing

2.19.1 Official Time

Official Time will be the time as kept by the Chief Judge.

2.19.2 Corrected Time

The corrected time is the time between the Departure Signal for a Challenge Vehicle until that vehicle clears the finish line, including any adjustments—plus or minus—for time penalties or time credits as prescribed in the Rules. Time will not be maintained for disqualified Challenge Vehicles.

2.19.3 Maximum Finishing Time

In order to qualify for the Grand Challenge cash award, the maximum corrected finishing time of the winning team must be less than six hours. Additionally, to ensure safe operation during daylight hours only, all vehicles must be removed from the route ten hours after their departure.

2.20 Departure Signal

The Departure Signal is that indication given by the Chief Judge for any Challenge Vehicle to begin the Challenge. The characteristics of the Signal shall be briefed at the pre-Challenge brief. It is intended to be perceived by human senses (e.g. visual or sonic) in order that the Challenge Team(s) may command their Challenge Vehicle to begin.

2.21 Safety Vehicle

A Safety Vehicle is a vehicle that carries the team Safety Vehicle operator and a DARPA Field Judge, and is intended to keep the Challenge Vehicle under direct visual observation at all times while the Challenge Vehicle is on the Challenge Route for safety and judging purposes.

2.22 Safety Crew

The Safety Crew comprises the occupants of the Safety Vehicle.

2.23 Challenge Vehicle

A Challenge Vehicle is a fully autonomous ground vehicle system that has been entered and accepted for the Challenge.

2.24 Challenge Area

The Challenge area includes the Departure Area, Departure Line, Challenge Route, Checkpoint Area, Arrival Line, Arrival Area, and any other area that has been assigned to DARPA for the purpose of conducting this Challenge. The specific boundaries of the Challenge area will be briefed to the Participants at a pre-Challenge brief shortly prior to the Challenge.

2.25 Departure Area

2.26 Challenge Route

The Challenge Route is the area included within boundaries specified by DARPA. The Challenge Route does not include the Departure Area, Checkpoint Area, or Arrival Area. It is on the Challenge Route that the performance of each Challenge Vehicle will be determined.

2.27 Waypoint

2.28 Checkpoint Area

A Checkpoint Area is that area around a checkpoint that has been designated as such by the Rules for the purpose of providing a break for Chase Crews and automated maintenance and servicing of Challenge Vehicles.

2.29 Arrival Area

3. Eligibility

3.1 Team Must Be U.S. Entity

The Challenge is open only to US entities. This includes U.S. corporations, U.S. non-profit organizations, U.S. universities, U.S. citizens, sole proprietors that are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and partnerships of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The nationality of the team is determined by its Team Leader.

3.2 Federal Government Organizations Ineligible

U.S. Federal Government organizations, including U.S. Military Service Academies, are ineligible to lead a team or participate as a member of a team.

U.S. Federal employees may participate as private citizens as long as they do so on their own time and while using only non-Federal equipment and supplies. They must be a U.S. citizen to be a Team Leader.

3.3 Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC)

An FFRDC is eligible to lead or be a member of a team provided that no Federal funding is directly used to prepare for or participate in the Challenge.

3.4 Foreign Participation

Foreign entities may participate only as members of a U.S.-led team.

4. Sponsorship

The cost of developing, fielding, and insuring the vehicles is the sole responsibility of the teams. DARPA will not provide funding for the purpose of entering or participating in the Grand Challenge. Teams are allowed to obtain sponsorships and to display advertising so long as such advertisements are not considered offensive by the judges. DARPA will not endorse blanket sponsorships for teams.

The appearance of external advertising on Challenge and Safety Vehicles must be approved by DARPA no later than 30 days prior to the Challenge.

DARPA makes no representations regarding expected media coverage of the Challenge.

5. Insurance

Insurance requirements are being developed.

6. Entry Procedures

6.1 Entry Fee

There is no entry fee.

6.2 Multiple Entries

A sponsor wishing to enter more than one vehicle shall assign unique names to each of its vehicle teams. DARPA shall treat such teams as separate teams for the purposes of administering this Challenge.

6.3 Application Period

The period of application begins on April 1, 2003 and ends on the application deadline at noon, Eastern Daylight Time, on October 13, 2003. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered and will be destroyed.

6.4 Application Documents

A complete application consists of several documents that need not be submitted simultaneously. These documents include the application form, the technical paper, and application addenda.

6.4.1 Application Form

Prospective Entrants must submit a completed application form on or before the application deadline at noon on October 13, 2003. The application form will be available on the DARPA web site ( no later than April 1, 2003. Prospective Entrants also may request an application by calling 866 DARPA GC (866 327 7242) and leaving their mailing address or fax number, as desired. The application form must be submitted prior to, or along with, the other required documents.

6.4.2 Technical Paper

A technical paper describing the Challenge Vehicle and other matters is due to DARPA on or before the application deadline at noon on October 13, 2003. A description of the mandatory subjects to be addressed in this paper will be posted on the DARPA Grand Challenge web site no later than April 1, 2003. This paper will be reviewed by DARPA to ensure that the Challenge Vehicle design can meet safety and Rules requirements. The panel also will judge the technical competence of the design and may not accept incomplete or ineffectual proposals. Papers that are not accepted for any reason may be re-submitted until the application deadline. The technical papers will be treated as team proprietary information until the conclusion of the Challenge, at which time the papers will be published.

Challenge Vehicles presented for the Qualification Inspections and Demonstration (QID) that deviate from the description in the Technical Paper may be disqualified.

6.4.3 Application Addenda

An Application Addendum accommodates the need for information items that are not expected to be available when the application form was completed. Examples of Application Addenda that will be required include updated Team roster, photographs of the Challenge and Safety Vehicles, and a photograph of the Challenge Team. The requirements for Application Addendum items will be sent only to Entrants, and no later than 30 days prior to the Challenge date.

6.5 List of Entrants

The names and contact information of Entrants will be posted on the Grand Challenge web site. Entrants that do not complete the application process by the deadline will lose their designation as Entrants and will be removed from the list of Entrants.

7. General Rules

Revised official Rules will be posted to the DARPA web site on April 1, 2003; however, DARPA reserves the right to modify the Rules at any time. As revolutionary thinking, engineering, and technology are desired, prospective Participants are invited to communicate with DARPA regarding any rule that restricts their ability to demonstrate technical achievement and innovative solutions to intelligent autonomous ground vehicle behavior in the Grand Challenge.

DARPA reserves the right to revise the schedule of the Challenge and to change or provide interpretation of the Rules at any time and in any manner, which, in their sole judgment, is required. DARPA judgment regarding the Rules is based on safety, legal compliance, fairness, Challenge goals, and efficient operations.

Whenever a conflict exists among the written Rules that exist on the DARPA Grand Challenge web site and any other representation of DARPA Grand Challenge Rules, the Rules on the DARPA Grand Challenge web site shall take precedence.

7.1 Judging Decisions Are Final

7.2 Self-Sufficiency of Teams

Teams furnish all equipment and supplies used in entering and participating in the Grand Challenge, such as food, shelters, lighting, electricity, and communications.

7.3 Government-Furnished Equipment (GFE), Services, and Supplies

No government-owned equipment or supplies may be used by a team in preparation for or during the Challenge except for equipment and supplies that have been offered to all Entrants.

7.4 Publicity

Media coverage of the Challenge is expected but not guaranteed.

7.5 Security

7.5.1 Access Control

7.6 Safety

7.6.1 Lasers to be Eye-Safe

7.6.2 RF Radiation Standards

7.6.3 Fire Extinguishers in Team Shelters

7.6.4 Smoking

7.6.5 Fuel Storage

7.7 Environmental

7.7.1 HazMat

8. Challenge Vehicle

Challenge Vehicles must be unmanned (no animals onboard) and fully autonomous. They may not be remotely driven while on the Challenge Route. Only single independent, un-tethered ground vehicles are eligible. No subvehicles will be allowed. All computing and intelligence must be contained onboard. Apart from the emergency stop feature, automatic communication with autonomous equipment at the checkpoints, and public navigation signals, no external communication is allowed. There is no size, weight, or propulsion power limit on the ground vehicle—the nature of the Route will dictate practical limits. The entry must be a ground vehicle. That is, it must be propelled and steered principally by contact with the ground. The type of contact devices (such as tires, treads, legs, etc.) is not specified. The vehicles must not damage the environment or infrastructure in violation of restrictions specified by the applicable land-use permitting authority. No classified data or devices can be used by a team during or in preparation for this Challenge.

8.1 Identification Number

Each Challenge Vehicle will be assigned a unique identification number that shall be displayed at least 6 inches in height on its sides and top (as large as possible is preferred). A vehicle that can operate when flipped over also shall have the number displayed on its bottom.

8.2 Audible Warning

Specifications for a Challenge Vehicle warning sound will be forthcoming.

8.3 Visual Warning

Specifications for Challenge Vehicle visual warning system will be forthcoming.

8.4 Neutral Gear Required

Challenge Vehicles must have the capability to be easily put into a neutral gear from outside the Vehicle. This is to allow disabled Challenge Vehicles to be pushed aside if they are impeding other Challenge or Safety Vehicles behind them.

8.5 Emergency Stop (E-Stop)

A complete description of the E-Stop capability is required in the Technical Paper.

8.5.1 Manual

Each Challenge Vehicle must be equipped with an externally actuated, manual E-Stop capability. Activating the manual E-Stop must promptly bring the vehicle to a complete halt. At least one actuator and its labeling must be easily visible and accessible by an average human standing anywhere around the vehicle. The E-Stop must be easy to identify and activate safely, even if the vehicle is moving. The operation instructions for these E-Stop actuators must be clearly labeled in English and in Spanish, and the labeling must not be interfered with by any other labeling or advertising. Activating the E-Stop must rapidly bring the vehicle to a complete halt. A demonstration of the manual E-stop capability will be required as part of the pre-Challenge Qualification Inspection and Demonstration.

8.5.2 Wireless

Each Challenge Vehicle must be equipped with a wireless (e.g. RF) remote E-Stop capability. Activating the wireless E-Stop from the Safety Vehicle must promptly bring the Challenge Vehicle to a complete halt. The wireless E-Stop must maintain a link with the vehicle in order for the Challenge Vehicle to operate, and the E-Stop must have a “fail-safe” feature, so that loss of link between the vehicles automatically activates the E-Stop. Upon reestablishment of the link, the Challenge Vehicle shall be able to restart itself and autonomously continue with the Challenge. The wireless E-Stop capability must be implemented in a way that ensures that the Challenge Vehicle will stop when it is not visible from the Safety Vehicle for greater than three seconds. The E-Stop control(s) in the Safety Vehicle must be positioned so as to be immediately available to every occupant. No specific link range or margin is specified in the Rules. A demonstration of the wireless E-stop capability will be required as part of the pre-Challenge QID.

Vehicles that do not exhibit mobility within ten minutes of a restart link may be considered disabled for the purposes of physically moving them to avoid obstructing Challenge or Safety Vehicles from passing. Challenge Vehicles so moved shall be disqualified. Vehicles that do not exhibit mobility within ten minutes of a restart link need not be disqualified if they are not obstructing other vehicles.

8.6 Electrical Provisions for DARPA Equipment

Participants must provide access to 12-14 VDC, 10A on upper surface of the Challenge Vehicle for the potential use of DARPA. The equipment using this electrical connection will not interfere with the wireless E-Stop capability. An EMC check also will be accomplished as part of the pre-Challenge technical inspection.

8.7 Position-Determination Equipment

Challenge Vehicles may be equipped to receive and process electronic position determination signals (such as GPS) that are freely available to all teams. Teams desiring to utilize position-determination signals that are not freely available (such as subscription services) must make that request in the Application Form or in an Application Addendum no later than 30 days prior to the Challenge date. The use of position-determination devices (such as beacons, etc.) that are developed or placed specifically for Route navigation is prohibited.

The Route is being developed so that GPS alone will not provide adequate navigation information to a Challenge Vehicle. Prospective Entrants are reminded that there could be dust, smoke, or other visual obscurants on the Route, and that visual spectrum only sensing may not permit sufficient speed if those situations are encountered (such as when following another vehicle).

9. Safety Vehicle

At least one manned Safety Vehicle will be required for each fully autonomous entry. The Safety Vehicle will contain at least an operator from the Team and a Field Judge. The wireless E-Stop control must be remotely operated from this Safety Vehicle. The Safety Vehicle must maintain visual contact with the autonomous entry at all times. The Field Judge will have the ability to communicate with Challenge officials over the entire Route. Teams must notify DARPA at least 30 days prior to the Challenge if an aviation Safety Vehicle will be used.

9.1 Provisions for DARPA Equipment

Access to 12-14 VDC, 5A shall be made available inside the Safety Vehicle for the use of the Field Judge. Additionally, ground Safety Vehicles shall be able to accommodate a GFE temporary antenna on the vehicle’s exterior; and aircraft Safety Vehicles shall be able to accommodate a non-TSO’d antenna for undetermined communication equipment inside the aircraft. The equipment using this electrical connection will not interfere with the wireless E-Stop capability. An EMC check also will be accomplished as part of the QID.

9.2 Compliance With Safety Standards

Ground Safety Vehicles shall comply with all safety standards for any class of vehicle (except motorcycle or ATV) eligible to race in an off-road race sanctioned by SCORE International.

9.3 Registration

Ground Safety Vehicles are not required to be registered and street legal. Aircraft Safety Vehicles must be U.S. registered civil aircraft that are maintained and operated in compliance with all applicable regulations. For example, unmanned air vehicles, 14 CFR 103 Ultralight Vehicles, and model aircraft may not serve as Safety Vehicles.

9.4 Seating

Safety Vehicles must safely seat at least two adults including one DARPA Field Judge. The other occupant(s) of the Safety Vehicle shall be members of the Challenge Team.

9.5 Safety Vehicle Inspection

Ground Safety Vehicles will be inspected for compliance with the Rules at the QID.

10. Qualification Inspection & Demonstration (QID)

A qualification inspection & demonstration (QID) shall be conducted as a prerequisite to starting the Challenge. The QID will be held the day prior to the Challenge off-road departure.

10.1 Challenge Vehicle

10.2 Ground Safety Vehicle

10.3 Aviation Safety Vehicle

11. Pre-Challenge Brief

The pre-Challenge brief is mandatory for each Team Leader and for each
Team’s Safety Crew. Subjects that will be addressed include:

  • Emergency Use of DARPA Communications Equipment
  • The Challenge Route and the location of Waypoints
  • Departure procedures and signals

12. Route Rules

12.1 Unintended Obstacles

DARPA intends to clear the Challenge Route of non-Challenge traffic and obstacles, but can not guarantee that there will be no non-Challenge traffic, obstacles, or humans on the Challenge Route. Technical approaches for Challenge Vehicles that rely on brute force to accommodate (e.g. crush, damage, or push aside) obstacles will not be permitted.

12.2 Rendering Assistance

Participants while on the Route shall render all possible assistance to any another Participant on the same or other Team who has been injured and requires medical attention. Failure to do so shall be disqualifying. The Field Judge shall record the time that a Team stops to render assistance and subtract that time from the Elapsed Time of the Team that stopped to render assistance. The Field Judge shall be the final authority regarding the necessity to render assistance. For example, the Field Judge may direct the Team he is accompanying to continue if another Team is rendering assistance at an accident scene.

12.3 Speed Limits

Speed limits will be imposed for certain segments of the Challenge Route. These limits will be provided to Participants during the pre-Challenge brief. Violations of speed limits will be penalized.

12.4 Non-Challenge Vehicles on Route

Except as provided in Rule 12.16, each Team may have only one Challenge Vehicle and one Safety Vehicle on the Route at any time. Any Team desiring to conduct video recording of their vehicle on the route must make detailed requests to DARPA at least 30 days prior to the Challenge, and may be granted access via alternative intersecting roads and trails. Approval will not likely be given for other than verified video-production or media entities. Any such vehicle that interferes with or impedes any other Team’s competitiveness shall incur penalties against the Team sponsoring it, and it shall immediately be removed from the Route.

12.5 Lateral Boundaries

The lateral boundaries of the Route will be specified. Failure to remain within the lateral boundaries of the Challenge Route will result in time penalties or disqualification. The lateral boundary of a road may be the road edge itself.

12.5.1 Description of Lateral Boundaries

12.5.2 Violations of Lateral Boundaries

12.6 Safety Vehicle Navigation

12.6.1 Safety Vehicle May Not Lead Challenge Vehicle

A Safety Vehicle may not be navigated in such a way as to act as a leader for a Challenge Vehicle to follow. Brief periods less than one minute in which the Safety Vehicle is forward of the Challenge Vehicle are permitted. The nature of the Route indicates that the Safety Vehicle will need to remain substantially in trace of the Challenge Vehicle.

12.6.2 Passing on the Challenge Route

A Safety Vehicle being passed shall give way to the vehicle passing it; however, a Safety Vehicle being passed is under no obligation to navigate outside the boundaries of the Challenge Route in order to permit a passing vehicle to complete its pass. A Safety Vehicle may not navigate outside the boundaries of the Challenge Route in order to pass a moving vehicle.

12.7 Rules for Waypoints

Waypoints will be described as latitude and longitude expressed in degrees, minutes, and decimal minutes referenced to the WGS84 datum. GPS reception, however, may not be possible at all waypoints. Challenge Vehicles are required to pass each Waypoint by entering a circle of a to-be-determined error radius about that Waypoint. Many, but not all, waypoints will have a circle marked around them to aid Field Judges in determining compliance with the Rules.

Failure to pass through a Waypoint shall be penalized.

Passing through each waypoint’s error circle will not, in all cases, be sufficient to remain within the prescribed lateral boundaries of the route. In some cases, the error circle about the waypoint will exceed the width of the route, and intelligent sensing and behavior will be required for the Vehicle to remain on the route.

Vehicles that do not reach certain waypoints in the maximum allotted time for those waypoints will be disqualified and must promptly be removed from the Route. The maximum time given to Participants to reach certain waypoints will be greater than the time corresponding to the pace required to reach the arrival line within the maximum allowed time.

The location and designation of the waypoints will be provided two hours before the Challenge.

12.8 Rules for Checkpoints

12.8.1 Checkpoint Arrival

The Checkpoint Area exists for the purpose of providing a break to Safety Crews; maintenance, refueling, substitution for Safety Vehicles, and automated maintenance and/or refueling of Challenge Vehicles. Stopping at the Checkpoint is mandatory. The checkpoint area will be identified to Participants at least 30 days prior to the Challenge Date. The checkpoint area will consist of:

  • a Challenge and Safety Vehicle entry gate that is aligned approximately with the expected approach direction from the previous waypoint,
  • a Challenge and Safety Vehicle departure gate that is aligned approximately with the expected departure direction for the next waypoint,
  • an administrative area for each Participant,
  • a DARPA operations area,
  • non-Challenge vehicle parking area,
  • and spectator and media areas.

A team may position their pit-area equipment and supplies in their designated section of the Checkpoint Area no earlier than 48 hours prior to the scheduled Departure time of the Challenge. Teams that desire to have a Safety helicopter land in the Checkpoint Area must notify DARPA at least 30 days prior to the Challenge date. Helicopters may be required to land a sufficient distance from the Checkpoint Area so as to not generate dust that would interfere with the Challenge.

A team’s elapsed time will stop when the Challenge Vehicle has entered and cleared the checkpoint entry gate and is fully inside the Checkpoint Area. A team’s elapsed time will not stop if its Challenge Vehicle does not enter the Checkpoint Area through the checkpoint entry gate. Each team’s elapsed time will begin exactly twenty (20) minutes later. Early departure will not be permitted.

While a Challenge Vehicle is entirely within the Checkpoint Area, automatically controlled operation (automatic tele-operation) of the Challenge Vehicle for the purposes of performing automated maintenance, refueling, etc. is permitted.

No team member may touch any Challenge Vehicle, or cause it to be touched by any equipment or material, while it is in the Checkpoint Area. Intentionally doing so shall result in disqualification.

12.8.2 Checkpoint Activities Challenge Vehicle Maintenance at Checkpoint(s)

Any autonomous maintenance performed on a Challenge Vehicle at any Checkpoint may not result in the Challenge Vehicle receiving more than 25% of its Departure line weight (exclusive of consumables) in non-consumable parts or equipment. Safety Vehicle Maintenance at Checkpoint(s)

12.8.3 Checkpoint Departure

12.8.4 Time Correction

12.9 Underpasses

Where underpasses are indicated as part of the Challenge Route, it is mandatory that Challenge Vehicles pass through them.

12.10 Passing

No Vehicle (Challenge or Safety) may intentionally operate to hinder another Vehicle that is trying to pass it.

Passing is permitted as long as the passing Vehicle does not cross a lateral boundary of the Route.

If the width of a Route segment is insufficient for passing, and the impeding Vehicle is moving, the passing vehicle must wait until there is sufficient room to pass. No time credit will be given to the following Vehicle(s).

If the width of a Route segment is insufficient for passing, and an impeding Challenge Vehicle has not moved for ten minutes, the impeding Challenge Vehicle is disqualified and shall be removed from the Route. Time spent waiting to pass an immobile Challenge Vehicle shall be subtracted from the passing Challenge Vehicle’s elapsed time.

12.11 No Physical Contact With Own Challenge Vehicle

No Team Member may make, or cause to be made physical contact with that team’s Challenge Vehicle after it has started the Challenge and before it has finished the Challenge. Physical contact includes indirect contact such as with tools, etc., as well as human-commanded contact such as by using remotely controlled equipment. Physical contact with a Challenge Team’s own Challenge Vehicle while it is in a Checkpoint Area is permitted only if that contact is controlled autonomously (i.e. no human-controlled contact). Minor and inadvertent contact with a team’s own Challenge Vehicle may be accepted based on the judgment of the Chief Judge. Violation of this rule shall result in disqualification.

12.12 No Physical Contact With Other Challenge Vehicle

No Team Member may make, or cause to be made physical contact with any other Team’s Challenge Vehicle after that Vehicle has started the Challenge and before it has finished the Challenge unless that Challenge Vehicle is disqualified. Minor and inadvertent contact with another team’s Challenge Vehicle may be accepted based on the judgment of the Chief Judge. Violation of this rule shall result in disqualification of the member’s Team.

12.13 Damaging Non-Team Property

12.13.1 Intentional

Except for minor and unavoidable damage as determined by a Judge, any team responsible for the intentional damage of property that does not belong to that team shall be disqualified. Intentional damage includes damage that occurs as a result of failure to prevent damage that could have been foreseen. Minor damage does not include damage that, as determined by a Judge, adversely affects the performance of another team.

12.13.2 Un-intentional

Minor and unavoidable damage shall not be penalized. Un-intentional damage to another Team’s property that, in the opinion of a Judge, adversely affects the performance of the other Team shall be disqualifying.

12.14 Departure Procedures

The Departure procedures are not yet specified—specifically whether all Challenge Vehicles will depart together or whether there will be a staggered departure. The probability of encountering other Challenge Vehicles on the route is high in either case.

12.15 Departure Line Time Limit

The Departure Line will remain available to a Challenge Vehicle for one hour
after the departure signal has been given for that Challenge Vehicle. A Challenge Vehicle’s elapsed time, however, begins at the time of its departure signal. Any Challenge Vehicle that has not passed and cleared the Departure Line in the direction of the Route within one hour of its departure signal shall be disqualified.

Notwithstanding any other rule, within the period of one hour following its departure signal, a Challenge Vehicle that has not cleared the Departure Line may be manually repaired and departed from behind the Departure Line as many times as necessary.

12.16 Safety Vehicle Substitution After Departure Time

A team may substitute an alternative Safety Vehicle for a previous one anytime during the Challenge. No more than one Safety Vehicle may accompany the Challenge Vehicle on the Route. Brief periods of transitioning from one Safety Vehicle to another will be permitted. The substitute Safety Vehicle may contain either the previous Safety Crew or a fresh Safety Crew, at the discretion of the team. If a team plans to use more than one Safety Crew, DARPA must be notified at least 30 days prior to the Challenge so that it can arrange for more than one Field Judge.

12.17 Jettisoning Material on the Challenge Route

Except for normal by-products of power generation, the intentional jettison of any material from the Challenge Vehicle is prohibited and shall result in disqualification. Anything that is unintentionally jettisoned or falls from a Challenge Vehicle shall be recovered by its Safety Crew and carried to the Finish Line. A Challenge Vehicle that crosses the Arrival Line without all of the equipment it had when it crossed the Departure Line shall not be eligible for the prize except that the accidental loss of material shall not result in disqualification as long as the applicable Safety Crew carries the material to the finish area while following the Challenge Vehicle.

12.18 Safety Crew Incapacitation

12.18.1 Team Member Temporary Permanent

12.18.2 Field Judge Temporary

If a Field Judge is unable to continue in the Safety Vehicle, and that inability is of a temporary nature expected to take less than ten minutes to resolve, the Field Judge shall instruct the Safety Vehicle driver to stop, and shall record the time of stopping so that the time stopped may be subtracted from the elapsed time for the team. When the Field Judge is able to continue, the time of restarting the Challenge Vehicle also shall be recorded. If the Field Judge cannot continue within ten minutes of stopping, a substitute field judge shall be requested and subsequently air delivered; and the incapacitated Field Judge shall be recovered by the same aircraft. The substitute Field Judge shall note the time of stopping and record the time of re-starting the Challenge. Permanent

If a Field Judge is unable to continue in the Safety Vehicle, and that inability is obviously permanent (such as for an injury), the Field Judge shall instruct the Safety Vehicle driver to stop, and shall record the time of stopping so that the time stopped may be subtracted from the elapsed time for the team. The Field Judge then shall request from DARPA a substitute field judge to be air delivered; and the incapacitated Field Judge shall be recovered by the same aircraft. The substitute Field Judge shall note the time of stopping and record the time of restarting the Challenge.

If the Field Judge is incapacitated to the degree that he cannot communicate with DARPA, the Safety Crew shall stop the vehicle and use the DARPA communications equipment to contact DARPA for a substitute Field Judge. The Field Judge substitution procedure described above shall be followed. The time of stopping in this case shall be recorded by the Safety Crew and given to the substitute Field Judge. The time of the emergency communication also will be recorded by DARPA operations and is expected to agree with the time as recorded by the Safety Crew. Continuing the Challenge with an incapacitated Field Judge will result in disqualification.

12.19 Field Judge Loses Sight of Challenge Vehicle

If the Field Judge loses sight of the Challenge Vehicle, and sight of the Challenge Vehicle cannot be immediately regained, the Field Judge shall order an E-Stop, and the Safety Crew shall comply. Once the Challenge Vehicle is located, and the Field Judge confirms that it is in sight, the Field Judge shall approve resuming the Challenge. The time spent during that E-Stop shall not be subtracted from that team’s elapsed time.

12.20 Maximum Finishing Time

A maximum finishing time shall be specified for the Challenge. Any Challenge Vehicle that does not cross the finish line within that time shall not be eligible for the Prize.

12.21 E-Stop

The Field Judge or a Safety Team member may, without penalty, direct an E-stop for safety reasons not related to the undesired behavior of the Challenge Vehicle. After the safety issue is resolved, the Challenge Vehicle may continue with the Challenge, and the time of the stop will be subtracted from the elapsed time of the Challenge Vehicle.

If an E-stop is performed because of a loss of visual contact or loss of wireless link between the Challenge Vehicle and Safety Vehicle, the Challenge Vehicle may resume the Challenge when the E-Stop link is re-established; and the time of the stop will not be subtracted from the elapsed time for the Challenge Vehicle.

If the E-stop is performed to prevent undesired behavior (such as driving off a bridge) by the Challenge Vehicle, the team shall be disqualified.

12.22 Compliance With Field Judge's Instructions

Each team Safety Crew shall comply with all instructions of the Field Judge that is accompanying them.

12.23 Autonomous Behavior Required

Autonomous behavior and operation is required by a Challenge Vehicle whenever it is on the Challenge Route. Except for E-Stop signaling, no team may cause a signal of any kind (e.g. visual, RF, sonic) to be sent to a Challenge Vehicle, nor may any team enter a Challenge Vehicle that can receive a signal of any kind except those permitted by paragraph 8.7 while it is on the Challenge Route. The Challenge Vehicle may conduct automatic signaling when it is not on the Challenge Route (e.g. checkpoint area or behind the Departure line).

12.24 Challenge Vehicle Telemetry

This paragraph does not apply to the required E-Stop capability.

No telemetry from a Challenge Vehicle is permitted without the approval of DARPA. Requests for approval shall be submitted with the required Technical Paper. Telemetry that requires sending any signal to the Challenge Vehicle will not be approved.

13. Penalties

13.1 Disqualification

A team that is disqualified after that team has crossed the Departure Line for the first time shall immediately stop its Challenge Vehicle and remove it from the Challenge Route as quickly as possible, and shall not interfere with Participants that are on the Route. A disqualified Challenge Vehicle may not continue on the Challenge Route, but a Challenge Vehicle may remain in the Checkpoint Area if it was there at the time of disqualification. No Safety Vehicle or video vehicle of a disqualified Team may be on the Challenge Route.

14. Receiving the Prize

The winning Team Lead, in order to receive the prize, shall be required to certify to the U.S. Government that the Team complied with all Rules. Therefore, it is prudent for Team Leads to ask for clarifications of Rules, or whether a questionable action is permitted, well enough in advance of the Challenge to accommodate DARPA’s decisions and interpretations of the Rules. DARPA will keep questions that have been designated as team proprietary from the other teams.


Last updated February 24, 2003

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