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Darpa robotics challenge: South Korea’s humanoid nets team $2m


Powered by article titled “Darpa robotics challenge: South Korea’s humanoid nets team m” was written by Sam Thielman in Pomona, California, for on Sunday 7th June 2015 13.23 UTC

On Saturday evening, with their sleek humanoid robot DRC-Hubo, a team of roboticists and engineers from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejeon, South Korea, won m from the R&D arm of the US defense department, Darpa, by outperforming 24 other robots in a simulated nuclear reactor.

Competitors came from all over the globe to Pomona, California, on Friday and Saturday. The two-day contest took place at the Fairplex, formerly the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. The robots were built and piloted with funding from sources as disparate as the European Union, Amazon and Nasa.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) leadership praised the competitors in a speech during the prize-giving ceremony.

“You are going be the vanguard of this new future that you’re going to go build,” said Arati Prabhakar, director of Darpa. “We have people here from countries all over the world, and every single one of you made an incredible contribution to the field of robotics.

“As you do that, I know you’re going to think back to 2015, the end of the [Darpa Robotics Challenge] and the beginning of a huge journey.”

Pensacola, Florida-based IHMC, which worked with Atlas, a robot created by Google-owned Boston Dynamics, took home the m second-place check. Tartan Rescue, a team from western Pennsylvania with Amazon and Foxconn money in its squat red robot, Chimp, nabbed the 0,000 third-place prize.

Darpa robot
The robot Chimp prepares to complete a task. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

All three teams finished the eight-task challenge, which involved opening a door, navigating or clearing a pile of rubble, driving a car (and then getting out of it), breaching a wall, closing a valve and climbing stairs.

The eighth task was kept secret from the teams until the second day – robots had to undo and replug a big black plug. On the first day, each robot had to operate a much easier toggle.

There was no rule set for solving the challenges and the competitors differed wildly. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology fielded an Atlas as well, multiple Japanese teams had robots of their own design, and Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory used a robot that transformed from a creature that looked like a four-legged spider into a thing that looked like a monkey on wheels. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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