DARPA challenge will focus on developing robots that can operate on rough terrain and in austere conditions

The Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA),within the American Defense Department, organises the competition : DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC).

The primary goal of the DRC is to generate ground-breaking research and development so that future robotics can perform the most hazardous activities in future disaster response operations, in tandem with their human counterparts, in order to reduce casualties, avoid further destruction, and save lives.

DRC focuses on developing robots that can operate on rough terrain and in austere conditions, using aids (vehicles and hand tools) widely available in populated areas. Specifically DARPA aims to prove that the following capabilities can be achieved :

  • Compatibility with environments engineered for humans.
  • Ability to use a diverse range of tools engineered for humans
  • Ability to be supervised by humans who have had little or no robotics training.

There are three different challenges:

VIRTUAL ROBOTICS CHALLENGE, June 23. Twenty six teams from eight countries qualified to compete in the VRC, which ran from June 17-21, 2013. The VRC teams were evaluated based on task completion and effective operator control of the robots in simulated runs from three tasks that addressed robot perception.

DARPA ROBOTICS CHALLENGE TRIALS, December 2013. Team with both the Atlas and custom robotic platforms will participate in the first physical competition, the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials. At the Trials, robots will perform an array of individual disaster response operations.

DARPA ROBOTICS CHALLENGE FINALS, December 2014: DARPA will host the final Challenge event, an end-to-end disaster-style scenario, in which teams will compete for 2,000,000 USD (1,536,074 €)

DARPA is currently in discussions with its counterparts in Japan and the EU about the challenge becoming a travelling contest that moves around the world.

For further information: http://www.theroboticschallenge.org/Default.aspx

Source and credits (picture): DARPA Robotics Challenge