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DARPA Robotic Challenge Finals begin

June 5, 2015

drc-getting-ready_800_394_80

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!

If you study the picture (click to enlarge) you can see the whole process that each of the 24 participating teams must go through:

  • The robot gets loaded into the drivers seat of an AGV under the white awning. It then drives itself down an obstacle course to the red door at the bottom right of the picture.
  • Then the robot dismounts the vehicle and opens and goes through the red door.
  • Then it moves past some electrical panels and finds a valve which it must turn sufficient to close it.
  • It then moves over to the black circle and chooses a tool or tools from the shelf to carve out a hole in the drywall.
  • It then returns the tools to the shelf and walks or climbs over the rubble through the doorway to the stairs.
  • And the final task is to climb the stairs.
  • If it’s able to do each task all within an hour it gets a lot of points.
  • The three teams with the highest point counts get the big bucks: $2 million; $1 million and $500,000.

It all starts Friday at 8 am at the Pomona Fairgrounds.

This is a big story with implications well beyond the contest aspects. I’ll be writing about it over the next few days. This is just a teaser as to what it’s all about.

Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series... read more


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