Eleven competitors will take part in this year's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge for unmanned ground vehicles.
The eleven were chosen from a field of 35, following a week-long trial.
The vehicles are fitted with computers and sensors and must complete a 60-mile course, negotiating obstacles, other vehicles, parking and merging while following Californian driving laws, all without human intervention.
This is the third unmanned vehicle challenge run by DARPA, as it seeks to reach a congressional deadline to have a third of military vehicles unmanned by 2015.
The winner of the challenge, which will be held on Saturday, will received US$2m, with second and third place receiving US$1m and US$500,000 respectively.
Last year's winners, Stanford University and Carnegie Melon University, are both competing again.
By staff writer