DARPA’s Tony Tether on Urban Challenge and Computer Science research

October 19th, 2007

DARPA’s Tony TetherCnet news has an interview with DARPA directory Tony Tether. The interview, Newsmaker: DARPA sees inspiration as trophy of robot race, mostly focuses on the current $2M DARPA sponsored autonomous vehicle race, Urban Challenge, which takes place November 3 in Victorville CA.

In the interview, he was asked “What are the top three advances to come out of DARPA in the last five years would you say?”. I found his answer interesting.

“Let’s see, we’ve revolutionized the whole computer science industry by moving into cognitive processing, that is, computers that learn you as opposed to you having to learn them. Stanford Research, by the way, in Menlo Park is a major contractor in that area. We’ve also done a lot in biology, again for finding ways for people out in the battlefield to be able to survive their environment. Then wireless, I guess. If you take your cell phone, you might think that you’re wireless and you are. But there’s a big infrastructure called towers that really make it work. And what we proved and have developed is the ability to have no infrastructure and still have total cellular wireless type of communication. That’s important from a military viewpoint because when we go into an area, we don’t have time to build the towers. Now that’s also going to be a big commercial thing because if somebody doesn’t have to build the infrastructure to have a wireless network, that means that the cost for it is much less than somebody who does, (and it) gives them a great price advantage. Those are three, but I’m not supposed to have favorites.”

Spotted on AAAI’s AI in the news.