Grand Challenge, Modest Failure?

Today the DARPA Grand Challenge was run. The course was shortened to only 142 miles from its original design goal of 250 miles. Fifteen robotic teams were selected to run. The best robot made 7.4 miles before mechanical failure called a halt to its day. The majority of teams made it less than a mile.

I don’t know whether to view this as a failure or a success. It seems that cross country navigation in real time is quite difficult: I suspect that even a reasonably inexperienced rally driver could easily drive the course in one third the time required.

Addendum: you can look at the preliminary results which I’ve thoughtfully converted from a silly Microsoft Word file to a somewhat more paleteable (but still proprietary) PDF file.