Live From the DARPA Robotics Challenge

DARPAs two-day Robotics Challenge (DRC) aims to develop robots that could one day come to the aid of humans in crisis situations. The winning team, which will be decided at the DRC Finals in 2014, will win $2 million.

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Landon Nordeman
Gentlemen…start your robots! DARPA's two-day Robotics Challenge (DRC) kicked off Dec. 20, pitting 17 teams against one another in eight physical trials. The competition aims to develop robots that could one day come to the aid of humans in crisis situations. The winning team, which will be decided at the DRC Finals in 2014, will win $2 million.
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Landon Nordeman
Live From the DARPA Robotics Challenge
Virginia Tech’s THOR—Tactical Hazardous Operations Robot—attempts the “Hose” task. THOR finishes the day with six points.

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Brian Finke
NASA Johnson Space Center’s (NASA-JSC) Valkyrie robot waits to begin the “Hose” task. In this trial, the robot is required to unreel a hose and connect its nozzle to a wye.

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Brian Finke
NASA-JSC team members move Valkyrie into position. Many of these NASA engineers previously worked on Robonaut, the humanoid that’s currently stationed on the International Space Station.

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Brian Finke
Tokyo’s Team Schaft tops the leaderboard on Day One, finishing with 18 points. Here, team members ready the bot for the “Debris” task, which requires robots to remove 10 pieces of debris and then walk through an open doorway.

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Brian Finke
Tartan Rescue’s bot, known as CHIMP, is a collaboration between Carnegie Mellon University and NREC. The bot has 360-degree sensing.

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Brian Finke
While most robots at the completion walk on legs, Tartan Rescue’s CHIMP rolls on rubberized treads like a tank does.

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Brian Finke
Worchester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) WRECS robot is controlled via 200,000 lines of software written by 30 WPI and Carnegie Mellon University students.

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Brian Finke
Boston Dynamics’ hydraulically powered Atlas is standard issue for the seven teams competing in the "software track" of the competition. These teams write the code and DARPA provides them with Atlas bot.

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Brian Finke
RoboSimian, a creation out of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs, walks on four general-purpose limbs.

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Drexel University’s Team DRC-Hubo climbs the “Ladder” trial backwards. The robot falls before reaching the landing.
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Landon Nordeman
DRC-Hubo is one of the few teams to attempt the “Vehicle” task. The trial requires robots to drive a modified Polaris Ranger XP 900 through a winding course. Hubo maneuvers the utility vehicle around two barriers and then malfunctions.

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Landon Nordeman
DRC-Hubo draws a large crowd at the “Vehicle” trial, which is considered the most challenging task at the event.

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Landon Nordeman
NASA JSC’s Valkyrie is wheeled past Japan’s Schaft on pit road at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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Landon Nordeman
Drexel’s DRC-Hubo takes the wheel on the “Vehicle” trial. The bot places one hand on the steering wheel, one hand on the roll cage, one foot on the accelerator, and one foot in the passenger seat’s floor well.

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Landon Nordeman
Team members of IHMC Robotics of Pensacola, Fla., cheer on their Atlas robot.

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Landon Nordeman
Team Rescue’s CHIMP tackles the “Terrain” task, crawling over an obstacle course made out of concrete blocks.

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Landon Nordeman
NASA’s Valkyrie hangs from its tethers. At the DRC Finals in 2014, tethers will not be permitted during the tasks.

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Landon Nordeman
RoboSimian and its human controllers at NASA-JPL win two points on Day One.

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