Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Seeking Robot Enthusiasts

DARPA plans to offer a $2 million prize to anyone that can help push the state-of-the-art in robotics beyond today’s capabilities. DARPA’s “Robotics Challenge” will launch October 2012 to support DOD’s disaster recovery efforts. True innovation in robotics technology could result in more effective robots that could better intervene in high-risk situations and save human lives.

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.

DARPA is looking for hardware, software, modeling, and gaming developers to link with emergency response and science communities to design robots capable of supervised autonomous response to simulated disasters.

DARPA wants to see contributions from communities beyond traditional robotics developers. Participation is encouraged globally from universities, small, medium, and large businesses, and individuals and groups with new ideas on how to advance the field of robotics. The idea is to develop adaptable robots with the ability to use available human tools from hand tools to vehicles.

According to Gill Pratt, DARPA program manager, “The work of the global robotics community is very important as robots can save lives, increase efficiencies, and help us consider new capabilities that we need to move beyond the present robotic state-of-the-art.”

For more information, email DARPAPublicAffairsOffice@darpa.mil.