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  SoldierMod Volume 15 - May 2015
Volume 15 Articles

DARPA logoDARPA Robotics Challenge Advances to Finals

News from DARPA

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Team ROBOTIS, So. Korea. Photo: Courtesy DARPA.
Team ROBOTIS, So. Korea. Photo: Courtesy DARPA.

In previous issues of Soldier Mod, we have reported on the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). 3.5 million dollars in prizes are now at stake as the international challenge advances to the final rounds of competition to be held 5-6, June 2015, just outside of Los Angeles, California.

The 25 teams advancing to the finals will be tested for their robots’ abilities to respond to natural disasters. Teams from Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, the People’s Republic of China, South Korea and the United States are represented in the finals.

In a DARPA press release announcing 14 new qualifying teams for the finals, Gill Pratt, program manager for the DRC said, “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.”

In the finals, DARPA will be looking specifically at how well the robots can function autonomously, and will deliberately interfere with, or minimize the communications between operators and robots, as would be the case in a disaster response. The judges will also be looking at battery consumption, mobility and the robots abilities to avoid falls in uneven terrain.

To qualify for the DRC Finals, teams who did not automatically qualify during the 2013 DRC Trials had to submit videos showing successful completion of five sample tasks: engage an emergency shut-off switch, get up from a prone position, locomote ten meters without falling, pass over a barrier and rotate a circular valve 360 degrees.

14 new teams qualified, making a total of 25 teams in the final competition. A complete list of the teams, the companies and countries they represent can be found here:

“There will be roughly 15 different commercial and custom physical robot forms demonstrated at the DRC Finals,” said Pratt. “Although seven teams will use the upgraded Atlas robot from Boston Dynamics, it’s each team’s unique software, user interface and strategy that will distinguish them and push the technology forward.”

The DRC Finals event is free and open to the public and media. In addition to the competition, an on-site robotics exposition (DRC Expo) will showcase technology related to disaster response, robotics, and unmanned aerial systems, and include an overview of DARPA’s mission and legacy.

More information about the DRC Finals, the teams, and the DRC Expo can be found at:

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