Larry Jackal has set up the LAGR (“Learning Applied to Ground Robotics”) project (and competition) which seems to be quite well designed. Features include:
- Many participants (8 going on 12?)
- Standardized hardware. In the DARPA grand challenge contestants entering with motorcycles are at a severe disadvantage to those entering with a Hummer. Similarly, contestants using more powerful sensors can gain huge advantages.
- Monthly contests, with full feedback (but since the hardware is standardized, only code is shipped). One of the premises of the program is that robust systems are desired. Monthly evaluations at different locations can help measure this and provide data.
- Attacks a known hard problem. (cross country driving)