The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) came up with a contest with a $2 million grand prize for the best robot in cases of calamities. Pomona, California was chosen to host the finals of this year’s DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) which will take place between 5 and 6 June.
The best three teams will win a total of $ 3.5 million. The team who designs the best robot that can help people in case of man-made or natural calamities will, of course, receive the biggest prize – $2 million. The runner up team will receive $1 million and the third will be awarded with $500,000.
Teams of robotics experts from all over the world have competed for the title of most efficient robot that could help with tasks too hard or complicated for humans to do during various disasters. During this year’s finals, 25 teams coming from 7 different countries will be presenting their projects. There are 13 teams from the United States, made out of robotics experts from various U.S. universities or robotics organizations. The other competing countries are Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, South Korea and China.
DRC competition program manager Gill Pratt made a statement that appeared on DARPA’s official site:
“We’re excited to see so much international interest in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals. The diverse participation indicates not only a general interest in robotics, but also the priority many governments are placing on furthering robotic technology. As this technology becomes increasingly global, cooperating with the United States in areas where there is mutual concern, such as disaster response and homeland security, stands to benefit every country involved.”
In order to be accepted into the finals, each robot had to pass DRC’s trial phase which was conducted last year. The agency also announced that there will be 15 different robot models in the competition, with six teams having chosen the Atlas mode but operating on different programming methods.
Each robot will have to go through various real-like situations where physical-related tasks will have to be performed successfully, in spite of low communication conditions. Some of the objectives will include the robots managing a wheel valve, driving vehicles or using various tools.
Each task successfully completed will bring the team a certain number of points. At the end, the highest score will be the winner.
Image Source: IEEE Spectrum