Google's Schaft robot wins Darpa rescue challenge

Reply Mon 23 Dec, 2013 08:47 am
I think this is interesting, robotics seems to have taken quite a big jump.

A robot developed by a Japanese start-up recently acquired by Google is the winner of a two-day competition hosted by the Pentagon's research unit Darpa.

Team Schaft's machine carried out all eight rescue-themed tasks to outscore its rivals by a wide margin.

Three of the other 15 teams that took part failed to secure any points at the event near Miami, Florida.

Schaft and seven of the other top-scorers can now apply for more Darpa funds to compete in 2014's finals.

Darpa said it had been inspired to organise the challenge after it became clear robots were only capable of playing a very limited role in efforts to contain 2011's Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown in Japan.

"What we realised was ... these robots couldn't do anything other than observe," said Gill Pratt, programme manager for the Darpa Robotics Challenge.

"What they needed was a robot to go into that reactor building and shut off the valves."

In order to spur on development of more adept robots the agency challenged contestants to complete a series of tasks, with a time-limit of 30 minutes for each:

Darpa robotics challenge

The robots had to steer a car along an obstacle-lined course
Drive a utility vehicle along a course
Climb an 8ft-high (2.4m) ladder
Remove debris blocking a doorway
Pull open a lever-handled door
Cross a course that featured ramps, steps and unfastened blocks
Cut a triangular shape in a wall using a cordless drill
Close three air valves, each controlled by a different-sized wheel or lever
Unreel a hose and then screw its nozzle into a wall connector

More than 100 teams originally applied to take part, and the number was whittled down to 17 by Darpa ahead of Friday and Saturday's event.

Darpa Robotics Challenge Scoreboard

1. Schaft (27 points)
2. IHMC Robotics (20 points)
3. Tartan Rescue (18 points)
4. MIT (16 points)
5. Robosimian (14 points)
6. Traclabs / Wrecs (11 points)
8. Trooper (9 points)
9. Thor / Vigir / Kaist (8 points)
12. HKU / DRC-Hubo (3 points)
14. Chiron / Nasa-JSC / Mojavaton (0 points)

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Frank Apisa
Reply Mon 23 Dec, 2013 09:07 am
Amazing, Izzy.

My guess is that by the end of this century or the beginning of the next...the stuff we will see in robotics will be beyond anything we can imagine right now.

Think of the technology that was in the works in 1913...and where we are now. And then consider the fact that the rate of advancement has been increasing (in what appears to be) geometrically.

Big things are in store for the people being born right now.
Reply Tue 24 Dec, 2013 05:00 am
@Frank Apisa,
I think Schaft is more advanced than Robbie, excepting being able to say,
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