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A Million Bucks: a pittance for the Pentagon, half the cost of one Patriot Missile, by some estimates. Enough, however, to pit big science and industry against a hodgepodge of entrepreneurs, high school students, geeks and grease monkeys in a challenge to design a 21st Century “My Mother the Car.”

This is the tenth anniversary of the DARPA Grand Challenge. In 2004 the US Military offered a million dollar prize to anyone who made a vehicle that could drive itself from Barstow, California to a casino near Las Vegas without any help from human beings. We were there for what became a rather zany race.