They’re Still Puppets!
The final DARPA Robotics Challenge
took place last week at the Fairplex racetrack in Pomona, California. 10,000 spectators viewed 24 teams’ robots going through their disaster-response paces to win a share of $3.5 million in prize money in this final stage of the DARPA three-year program. Many of the robots were custom, but several teams fielded adaptations of the Boston Dynamics Atlas robot as a common platform. The engineering teams were sequestered in a ‘garage’ offsite and linked to their robot charges by a deliberately degraded communication system (to simulate field conditions). The robots had no cords (unlike 2013) and were given eight tasks: driving a car down a dirt road, getting out of the car, opening a door and entering a building, turning a valve, cutting a hole in a wall with a drill, completing a surprise task (flipping a switch or unplugging a tube and plugging it into another hole), navigating a pile of rubble,
and walking up a short flight of stairs. At this point, according to program director Gill Pratt, their competence is ‘brittle or narrow’ and they have difficulty adapting; the competing robots stumbled, fell, were puzzled when thrown a curve ball of a task. The winners: South Korea’s KAIST
team with DRC-Hubo beat IHMC
‘s Running Man by six minutes; Carnegie Mellon
’s CHIMP took third. Much more in Gizmag
(emphasizing behind the scenes), The Verge
More on the DARPA Robotics Challenge in TTA since 2013 here.