DARPA Is Looking For More Efficient Robots

Melissa Stusinski - Author

Feb. 20 2017, Updated 10:57 p.m. ET

DARPA is looking to create robots that last longer and have more stamina, saying that robots are no good if they run out of power, which is currently happening within about 10 to 20 minutes of activation.

TechEYE reports that the agency’s current robots, which are used to help shut off roadside bombs, a valve leaking toxic steam, and other defense missions, are currently constrained partially because of power supply issues.

In order to create the perfect robot for their needs, DARPA has created the M3 Actuation program, which hopes to reach a 2,000 percent increase in both the efficiency of power transmission and application in their robots, in order to improve their performance potential, reports TechEYE.

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Information Week notes that Gill Pratt, DARPA’s M3 program manager, said in a written statement that:

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“By exploring multiple aspects of robot design, capabilities, control, and production, we hope to converge on an adaptable core of robot technologies that can be applied across mission areas. Success in the M3 Actuation effort would benefit not just robotics programs, but all engineered, actuated systems, including advanced prosthetic limbs.”

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The company announced that the research and development teams will cover two tracks of work, reports Network World. The first track will ask teams to develop and demonstrate actuation technology that is high-efficiency, allowing robots similar to their DARPA Robotics Challenge Government Furnished Equipment platform to gain 20 times the endurance than the current robots when they are running on untethered battery power. The current period is 10 to 20 minutes. Network World notes that, while the robots will be shown at the Robotics Challenge in December 2014, they will not be able to compete

The second track will be for performers and will be eligible for competition in December 2014. It will include performers who are seeking to improve the efficiency of actuators, both at scales that may or may not be applicable to the Robotics Challenge. It is essentially designed to advance the science and engineering that goes behind actuation, without it having to apply to current robot models.

What do you think of DARPA’s quest to improve their defense mission robots?


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