Whether you're sad to be saying goodbye to all your ASF friends already after such a jam-packed ACC weekend, or you weren't able to attend at all, a perfect opportunity for some more socializing, over a more leisurely weekend, is just around the corner: you're invited to join fellow Future Saloners to attend the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge autonomous vehicles race on October 8. As was done for last year's Challenge, we will be self-organizing into carpools at a Salon the Friday night before, but this year the race is on the San Diego Future Salon weekend, so we'll be congregating there rather than in L.A. (The precise course of the race will not be revealed until the morning of the race, and even the locations of the start and finish lines will not be announced until the week before, but they will be somewhere out in the southern CA/NV desert.)
Last year, as you may recall, none of the contestants completed the course, and the $1 million prize went unclaimed. Since DARPA had suspected such an outcome was likely (they named it the DARPA Grand Challenge for a reason), the idea was to double the prize amount each race until somebody wins. As planned, therefore, this year's prize is $2 million. Vying for it this year are 43 teams, from 15 states, including two teams ("Red Team" and "Red Team Too") from last year's best contender, Carnegie Mellon. For more on last year's race, check out the DARPA Grand Challenge website, the coverage on IT Conversations, and my own small trip album.
And the October 7 San Diego Future Salon will feature David Lemberg, the Executive Producer and Host of the "Science and
Society" Internet radio and podcast program focusing on nanotechnology, life sciences, space exploration, K-12 science education, and the intersection between science and art. He will be presenting "Nanotechnology: The Near Future of Medicine, Space Exploration, and the Environment."
Feel free to just show up at the SD Salon, or at the race itself if your Friday evening is already booked. But those planning to attend the race are encouraged to let it be known to us all in order to encourage others to join us for the trek as well.
Update: I've now added a coordination page to the ASF wiki.