The IGVC 1,000-Mile Stare

Each June robot teams from all over the world migrate to Rochester Hills, Michigan for the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition, an event that seems to consist of three elements: design presentation, staring at computer monitors for hours at a time, then following your autonomous robot as it attempts to not run into anything.
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If the robot teams aren’t practicing, qualifying, attempting to qualify, or rolling through the obstacle course, the builders are fixated on some unfathomable hieroglyphical video language reminiscent of WWII Navaho “Wind Talkers.” Many sit immobile, oblivious to sunrise, sunset, missed meals or even Anime, in hopes they can inject that little bit of artificial intelligence into their battery-powered aluminum chassis.
Chief mechanical engineer Nick Marik says “JoeMegatron’s chassis is doing fine, and this afternoon we’ll head to the field to qualify.” Tomorrow is when most of the machines tackle the obstacle course.