This is a direct copy of an e-mail I recently received. Worth the read, but definitely watch the video.
In 2005 DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Sponsored the DARPA grand challenge. This was a autonomous vehicle race with a prize purse of $1 million USD. The vehicles had to navigate a 150 mile off road course in the Mojave Desert near Barstow California. The Stanford Racing team completed the course in 6 hours and 54 minutes winning first place.
This has of course lead to the development of driverless cars by google and several other companies. The robotics involved have matured a long was such that the rate of accidents in these cars is much less than that of human drivers. Now DARPA has a new challenge with and even larger prize purse.
The DARPA Robotics Challenge has prizes totaling $3.5 million USD. This challenge is for autonomous to semi-autonomous ground robots to perform tasks and complete a course in complex human environments. These walking machines look like walking terminator robots. Controlled by the Defense agency and with the current structure to sell Defense tools and arms to civilian Law enforcement agencies it is only a mater of time before these are roaming the streets. Check out their latest batch of terminators running the course in Fairplex- Pomona, California.