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Rescue-robot show-down

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The paper presents the most ambitious DARPA (U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) robot R&D program yet. Called the DARPA Robotics Challenge, or DRC, it aims to accelerate the development of robots that can help humans, not only with nuclear emergencies but also with fires, floods, earthquakes, chemical spills, and other kinds of natural and man-made disasters. DARPA (some call it the mad science division of the Pentagon) organized the DRC as a kind of Olympic decathlon for robots, open to teams from anywhere on the globe. But instead of running, jumping, and throwing things, the robots will score points by performing various tasks in a simulated industrial disaster. Picture hulking machines driving vehicles, using power tools, and breaking through walls. And instead of a gold medal, the winning team will take home a US $2 million cash prize.

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:51 ,  Issue: 1 )