In a surprise move today, Toyota held a press conference (see video below) announcing a substantial investment in robotics and AI research to develop “advanced driving support” technology, with former Program Manager of DARPA’s DRC Gill Pratt directing the overall project as Executive Technical Advisor. Toyota will allocate USD$50M over the next five years in a partnership with MIT’s CSAIL (headed by Daniela Rus) and Stanford’s SAIL (headed by Fei-Fei Li) to develop research facilities in Stanford and Cambridge.
With this robotics Grand Challenge, DARPA has advanced both the science of robotics and the story. Real robots did useful things, like operate power tools, drive cars and climb stairs far more successfully than we anticipated. But at the same time, the world saw that it was incredibly difficult for them to perform simple human tasks like opening a door. Anyone who is worried about robots stealing their jobs, or killing us in our sleep, can sleep a little sounder tonight.
This weekend I went to Pomona, CA for the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge, where robots (mostly humanoid) competed at a variety of disaster response and assistance tasks. This contest — a successor of sorts to the original DARPA Grand Challenge, which changed the world by giving us robocars — got a fair bit of press, but a lot of it was around this video showing various robots falling down when doing the course …
The DARPA Robotic Challenge Finals at the Pomona Fairgrounds is a far bigger event than I imagined. Four sets like this one plus a stage, a grandstand full of people and an exposition hall with 80+ exhibitors!
The DRC is all about pushing robotics technology forward. It’s all about creating a community devoted to innovation. And as it comes down to the finale on Friday and Saturday, it will also be about theatre.
The DRC is not about robots going off to mitigate disasters on their own - it’s about honing the interface between humans and robots so we can take best advantage of what each has to offer. With hundreds of people coalescing around a common goal at this event, an inspiring community has arisen.
DARPA’s latest Challenge reaches its climax on 6 June 2015, when 25 finalists compete for $3.5m of prize money in what’s possibly the most anticipated robotic contest ever. Since its inception in 2012, the event has lost its top competitor and the challenge is now even tougher. Here’s what you need to know to enjoy the event, in one handy guide.
Traveling from dozens of locations around the world, the teams competing in the DARPA Robotics Challenge have begun unloading their precious cargo into their respective working bays inside the cavernous Building 9 on the Fairplex site in Pomona, CA. Each team has pulled off its own logistics miracle to pack up not only their robots but also huge chunks of their home laboratories into a truck’s-worth of boxes and crates.
When the DARPA Robotics Challenge first began to coalesce from an idea to a plan, we knew that we wanted to create a lasting legacy not only for robot hardware capabilities, but also for robotics simulation software. To help with these efforts, DARPA contracted with the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) in 2012.
After years of alarmist comments from robo-ethicists, futurists, technologists, business leaders and pundits, including Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking, two journalists bring some reality to the issue.
We’re excited to announce that OSRF and BIT Systems are seeking innovative and revolutionary robotics projects for the Robotics Fast Track (RFT) effort, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Five short videos prepared by U.S. high school students have been selected as winning entries in DARPA’s “Robots4Us” video contest and will be featured at a June 7 invitational workshop on the future of robotics. DARPA launched the contest to stimulate student consideration of the societal implications of robotics.