Later this year, some of the world’s most advanced humanoid robots—and their human masters—will gather for the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), a competition where the robots will attempt to perform a series of complex tasks in a disaster response scenario. The highly anticipated event is still eight months away, but teams will also have to show that their robots can perform adequately in a computer simulation, which is coming up soon, in June. Teams are working frantically on their robots and simulations, and while some groups operate in total secrecy, others like Team DRC-Hubo are eager to show off their progress.
The DRC will consist of eight tasks, including some that are highly complex, such as driving a vehicle or climbing a ladder. Any one of these activities would be difficult to prepare for individually, let alone altogether. Which means that, if the robots prove successful at even some of the tasks, the DRC will be considered a major milestone for robotics. It will also serve to showcase the practicality of the humanoid form-factor, which some have dismissed as expensive research projects unfit for real-world use. [Read More]
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