A car that drives itself is a dream as old as cars. Challenges include terrain sensing, mapping and navigation, as well as interaction with moving objects like existing traffic. DARPA famously sponsored a series of Grand Challenges to pioneer this technology, and they were highly successful. Seven full-scale autonomous car prototypes are now in testing in California and Nevada by Google.
Creating a man-portable autonomous ground rover that operates reliably would be of considerable interest. A small portable model can operate robotic attachments as bomb-disposal bots do today, it can haul payloads without being the potentially lethal hazard that full-scale vehicles are, and it can operate scientific payloads. The biggest challenge with scaling things down is obstacles. Much smaller tires are blocked by much smaller obstacles, dramatically increasing the load on an obstacle collision avoidance system. Thus far, efforts towards this have gravitated towards a class of RC vehicles known as 'Rock Crawlers', which have a low center of gravity, flexible suspension, and very large tires for the vehicle size.
- ArduIMU Crawler
- Super-Class Rock Crawler Automation
- Crawler1 - Land Based Rover
- Let's Start An Official ArduRover Project
 Aerial Transitioning Rover
One way to avoid obstacles is simply to fly over them, something that is up for bid at DARPA right now at full scale. James Cotton has melded a quadrotor to an RC car to create just such a vehicle.