Whoa, it was news to me. The robots have to be completely autonomous, and travel from LA to Las Vegas in 10 hours using only GPS guidance systems and computer brain-power (no remote control!). The prize is a million bucks, but the blueprints will become public knowledge, they say. If no winner, the contest repeats until 2007.
There are some genius roboticists in this country, and it seems likely that someone will make it before the 2007 deadline.
But it raises dubious questions - will the military (who is sponsoring the contest) be using semi-autonomous tanks and battle-groups controlled by a War-Games style "WOPR" supercomputer? Why would the military need anything that was autonomous, unless they planned to use the 'bots to do things that humans just wouldn't do?!
Decode for yourself.
Darpa dot MIL grand challenge