DARPA Robotics Challenge
April 16, 2012
Quote from IEEE Spectum:
DARPA to the robotics community: the challenge is on.
Today the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is announcing a bold new program aiming to advance robotics technology for disaster response. The DARPA Robotics Challenge is offering tens of million of dollars in funding to teams from anywhere in the world to build robots capable of performing complex mobility and manipulation tasks such as walking over rubble and operating power tools. It all will culminate with an audacious competition with robots driving trucks, breaking through walls, and attempting to perform repairs in a simulated industrial-disaster setting. The winner takes all: a $2 million cash prize.
DARPA specifically mentions the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident as an example of a disaster that would have benefited from more capable robots. In fact, the scenario DARPA is planning for the final competition closely resembles the dramatic events that unfolded in the first 24 hours at Fukushima, when human workers attempted but ultimately failed to fix one of the crippled reactors.
Asked if the tasks planned for the challenge—which include using an impact hammer to break through a wall, locating a leaking pipe, and replacing a cooling pump—are a bit too hard, Pratt said "no." "We think that it’s actually ‘DARPA hard,’ but not an impossible thing to do," he said. "It’s a goal that has a lot of risk, but a lot of reward as well, and that’s really the theme of what DARPA tries to do."
• GOAL: The goal of the new program is to “develop ground robotic capabilities to execute complex tasks in dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environments.” Key robotic technologies the program aims to advance include “supervised autonomy, mounted mobility, dismounted mobility, dexterity, strength, and platform endurance.”
Society Of Robots are planning to make a team for this challenge. What about LMR? Are we up for this? What do you guys think?