DARPA to Hold Disaster-Response Robot Challenge With $2 Million Prize

Posted on April 10, 2012

DARPA announced plans plans to offer a $2 million prize to whomever can help push the state-of-the-art in robotics beyond today's capabilities in support of the DoD's disaster recovery mission. The DARPA Robotics Challenge will begin in October 2012. Teams will design robots to compete in challenges involving staged disaster-response scenarios.

Gill Pratt, DARPA program manager, says, "This challenge is going to test supervised autonomy in perception and decision-making, mounted and dismounted mobility, dexterity, strength and endurance in an environment designed for human use but degraded due to a disaster. Adaptability is also essential because we don't know where the next disaster will strike. The key to successfully completing this challenge requires adaptable robots with the ability to use available human tools, from hand tools to vehicles."

DARPA Acting Director, Kaigham J. Gabriel, says, "Robots undoubtedly capture the imagination, but that alone does not justify an investment in robotics. For robots to be useful to DoD they need to offer gains in either physical protection or productivity. The most successful and useful robots would do both via natural interaction with humans in shared environments."

Details about the DARPA Robotics Challenge can be found here.

More from Science Space & Robots