Ever since the Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred in Japan in 2011, people have been trying to come up with a way to replace humans in such situations that could cause incredible damage to their health. At the time, the radioactive environment made work in the area extremely difficult, posing great danger to the people involved in the rescue.
A good way to prevent that is to involve robots who could handle machinery, turn off gas, use fire hoses, cut a hole through a wall and walk certain distances as far as possible.
This is why the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has decided to come up with a challenge for teams all over the world to build robots capable of doing as many tasks as possible.
The DARPA Robotic Challenge was held this weekend in California and it has been regarded as a sort of Olympics for robots, who were encouraged by constant cheering and applause while they were struggling to perform various tasks on a racetrack filled with obstacles for them to overcome. The setting was designed to look like a danger zone and copy real life situations.
Twenty-four robots designed by teams from the USA and other parts of the world were engaged in the competition, striving really hard to win the $ 2 million prize.
Some regarded the race as laughable, as it was obvious most of the robots were not developed enough to face such difficult tasks. Some of them had difficulty standing up and getting out of a vehicle was a really challenging job.
Experts commented on the robots lack of precision and speed, seriously doubting that they will soon be able to save lives.
“It’s like watching paint dry,” said Brad Tousley, who is the managing director of tactical technology at DARPA. He was among the ones who did not seem to be impressed with the droids ‘ struggle to complete eight tasks in an hour.
The winner of the challenge was a robot designed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), whose robot managed to perform the tasks in 44 minutes and a half. This robot was different from the others because it used wheels to go from one place to another, even if it was also equipped with legs, which the other robots completely relied on.
The second prize, which consisted of $ 1 million went to Running Man from IHMC Robotics in Florida and the $500,000 third prize was awarded to CHIMP, a robot designed by Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center.
Image Source: cbsnews