This Friday and Saturday Fairplex will be hosting the DARPA Robotics Challenge.
It is like an Olympics for robotics teams from around the world, organized by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. This is the U.S. Defense Department in-house agency for technological advancement that aims at infusing new life in robotics development.
While some are usually reluctant to associating their droids with governmental military agencies, the 25 competitors that answered the challenge this year are looking at the opportunity to create a new environment for humanitarian causes such as disaster relief or disaster response that require rapid and unabated actions.
Add the price tags allocated to the first three competitors and there’s a win-win situation for everyone. The first runner-up is to receive 2 million dollars, the second place will be rewarded with 1 million dollars, while the third will look at a check for 500,000 dollars. Not bad for an incentive.
The two-day competition organized in Pomona, just near Los Angeles is revolving around humanitarian assistance. Gill Pratt, the program manager for DARPA, as well as the coordinator of the event stated that:
“Humanitarian assistance and disaster response is one of the 10 primary missions of the U.S. Defense Department. When we go and help with disasters around the world, it helps if we have a way of mitigating the severity of the disaster as it is evolving.”
From this perspective, the 25 competitors that took on the challenge have created robots that are up for running, clearing debris, heavy-weight lifting, obstacle races, stair and ladder climbing. All the challenges a human team would be facing when the need arises for humanitarian assistance in front of disaster.
The competing teams come from the United States – 12 of them. Japan, land of robotics sent five teams in the DARPA competition. South Korea comes next with only three teams of roboticists.
Germany pushed two teams to the front. Italy will be competing with one team. Just as Hong Kong is.
For those interested to see what the creations of the 25 teams are able to do and who will go home with the prizes, DARPA is free to attend.
DARPA is taking place in Pomona, California, at Fairplex.
Image Source: WIRED