Darpa Robot Challenge

Military Offering $2 Million For First Effective Humanoid Robot

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on Tuesday put out a call for its first humanoid robot. The organization said in its announcement “Hardware, software, modeling and gaming developers sought to link with emergency response and science communities to design robots capable of supervised autonomous response to simulated disaster.”

The organization is willing to pay $2 million as part of DARPA’s Robotics Challenge which will launch in October 2012.

Teams competing in the challenge will be given staged disaster-response scenarios in which their robots must successfully navigate various physical tasks that would correspond to real-world disaster-response requirements.

The challenge arrives less than one year after Japan used robots to help with part of the countries Fukushima nuclear plant disaster and some robots are already used by U.S. military forces to help diffuse improvised explosive devices.

The goal of the event is to create more effective robots that can intervene faster and with better results in high-risk situations.

According to the challenges official press release:

The DARPA Robotics Challenge consists of both robotics hardware and software development tasks. It is DARPA’s position that achieving true innovation in robotics, and thus success in this challenge, will require contributions from communities beyond traditional robotics developers. The challenge is structured to increase the diversity of innovative solutions by encouraging participation from around the world including universities, small, medium and large businesses and even individuals and groups with ideas on how to advance the field of robotics.

According to DARPA Acting Director Kaigham J. Gabriel:

“Robots undoubtedly capture the imagination, but that alone does not justify an investment in robotics” and “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.”

The DARPA Robotics Challenge supports the National Robotics Initiative launched by President Barack Obama in June 2011.

If you are interested in participating in the DARPA robotics challenge the organization will be holding a virtual Proposers’ Day workshop on April 16, 2012. You can find more information about the online event by visiting http://go.usa.gov/mVj.