If you’re unfamiliar with the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Urban Challenge, it’s basically a competition between vehicles that drive themselves in a mock urban environment. This year’s event, which lasted more than six hours, took place at California’s George Air Force Base and involved the robotic cars completing three missions while obeying traffic laws and avoiding colliding with each other and several obstacles.

First place went to the Carnegie Mellon University Tartan Racing Team and their GM Chevrolet Tahoe, which finished roughly 20 minutes ahead of the second placed Stanford team and their autonomous VW Passat. Only six of the eleven vehicles competing actually finished the challenge, and only four teams finished in the allotted six hours.

The significance of the challenge is the technologies that could one day feature on actual production vehicles. Already we’ve seen active safety systems that automatically apply a vehicle’s brakes or systems that simply warn drivers if an accident is about to occur. It appears the next leap will be cars that require no input from the driver whatsoever.