DARPA Robotics $2 Million Challenge opens a great opportunity for NC companies!
Solicitation Number: DARPA-BAA-12-39
A new U.S. military challenge demands robots that can drive vehicles, climb ladders, and handle power tools during disaster response scenarios — but competitors don’t all have to come in the familiar humanoid form.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) pointed out that it welcomes robots in any form to compete for its $2 million robotics challenge issued on April 10. Its added clarification came in a video posted April 11 featuring past footage of two humanoid robots walking up stairs and doing push-ups.
“Any designs are welcome, provided they are compatible with shared human-robot environments, compatible with human tools and compatible with human operators so that a human without expertise in robotics can give commands and confidently anticipate the response,” DARPA said.
This statement comes despite the humanoid forms of the DARPA robot and another robot created by Boston Dynamics — known as Atlas or PETMAN — seen in the newly posted video. DARPA has said such humanoid robots resemble the final robot “platform” it plans to provide for testing purposes in its robotic challenge.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is calling on anyone who can advance current robot technology past existing limits to create an autonomous bot for the DOD’s “disaster recovery mission.”
“Robots played a supporting role in mitigating fallout from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan, and are used by U.S. military forces as assistants for service members in diffusing improvised explosive devices. The robots created by the teams will compete in a variety of challenges that simulate real-life disasters.
“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,” said DARPA Acting Director, Dr. Kaigham Gabriel.
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