Latest reports are suggesting that as many as 25 robots will be participating in this year’s DARPA contest, a competition that helps in locating machines that have the potential of providing assistance after manmade or natural disasters.
DARPA stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; it’s an US agency responsible for developing technologies that can be used by the country’s armed forces.
Initially, 11 teams were selected for competing in this year’s contest; 14 more teams have joined those 11 to take the total number of participants to 25. The 2015 DARPA contest has teams from countries such as South Korea, China, Japan, the United States, Italy, Hong Kong, Germany, etc. as its participants. The event will take place in Pomona, CA.
To win the contest, participating robots will need to walk and cover a distance of 10 meters or 30 feet, get up from a lying position, and activate emergency shut-off switches. The three teams to win the contest will get combined prize money of $3.5 million.
This robotics competition started only in 2012; so, this year’s event will be the 4th edition of the contest. As mentioned above, the primary aim of the agency has been coming up with technologies that can help in completing tasks that humans find difficult to complete by themselves. All the previous three editions of the contest have helped DARPA to locate a number of such technologies.
The contest’s program manager Gill Pratt said that DARPA by organizing this contest is trying to allow humans and robots work together. He added that robots are known for their prowess of working in hazardous environments and humans, on the other hand, are born with the quality of making right judgments and the right time; DARPA, according to him, wants a perfect combination of these two qualities to enable better disaster management.
According to information provided by sources close to the agency, the 2015 edition of the competition will see every participant get a total of one hour for completing the tasks assigned to them. All teams will earn points for completing those tasks; and the one that will earn maximum points will be declared the winner. In the case of a tie, the team completing the course faster will be the winner. The process is as simple as that.
Besides the robotics challenge, DARPA will also be hosting a contest for high school students. The contest will require participants to submit videos addressing concerns about society and robotic intelligence.