So... California wants to limit off-road motorcycle use, but will allow people to race completely untested, driverless vehicles on those same lands? Vehicles that can roam over any part of the land, of their own volition?
The project is to test and put together many new and currently available technologies into a working package. Its not a race in the common terms. And its not people in general racing these things. They are supposed to be 100% automatic, and react to the change in terrain, the course (marked by magnetic beacons) and do it as fast as possible. Many universites in the world are involved with this race, so DARPA is holding this competition, so that it gets research information from over 100 universities and teams for just a measly 1 million dollars. More than likely, that million will not go to individuals but rather to the university program, or the company R&D fund. But hey, if you want to compare this race to using off-road vehicals, you go right ahead Mr. Neanderthal.
California highways already seem to be largely filled with driverless vehicles -- what with the person sitting behind the steering wheel being preocupied with cell phone conversations, shaving, applying makeup, checking e-mail or stock quotes. Racing seems like the next logical step.
D.A.R.P.A. gave us the internet: originally a project to decentralize information to retain the "knowledge infrastructure" in the event of nuclear MAD (mutually assured destruction). DARPA are probably the closest thing to an inhouse military thinktank-slash-skunkworks we've got. And they think long-term, which makes them both valuable and alienated amoung the larger military/political paradigm. DARPA: it's a good thing(tm).
CON: Famous automated combat vehicles of the past--
George Lucas' goofy droid army
Maximillian and Old Bob
Master Control Program
and Majel Barret's voice from any Star Trek series.
Now, fellas, I hate to poop the party, but this is hardly THE HEAVENLY F*ING HOST OF MILITARY HARDWARE, YOU PANSIES! YOU FOUR-EYED WHINING GIRLS! YOU'RE A DISGRACE TO THE UNIFORM, YOU SOFTWARE ****S! YOU CONGRESSIONAL WHORES! YOU KNOW WHAT THE CHINESE DO WHEN THEY WANT TO WIN A WAR?! THEY LOAD THEIR PEASENTS INTO CATAPULTS WITH PITCHFORKS AND DIE BY THE MILLIONS, LIKE MEN! YOU MAKE ME WANNA PUKE! OH, OOOHHHHHHHH!
Actually I have nothing against DARPA or their research. I just like to chuckle at the hypocrisy of people who can't stand the idea of private citizens trashing the environment but then think it's okay when a university or the govt does. Apparently like that Surefire dude.