Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Darpa Robotics Challenge Results

This weekend, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) held their Robotics Challenge finals. The event was a fantastic display of the high-tech robots that are being developed to aid in emergency operations. In the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, humans could not safely access important areas to perform tasks that would slow or stop the destruction of the plant. Robots were used to a small extent, but were not quite up to challenge of saving the plant. Afterwards, Darpa designed this challenge with Fukushima and similar situations in mind. Robots had to drive a car, open a door, turn a valve, operate a drill, and perform other tasks, all in under an hour. All robots had to be wireless, meaning they carried their own power in a battery, and communication was remote and also imperfect--just like in a real emergency situation. The winner, Team Kaist from South Korea, was awarded a $2 million grand prize to continue development. In the future, these impressive humanoid robots may have what it takes to stop disasters in progress, rescue humans from burning buildings, and go anywhere else where man cannot safely go.

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