AI News, DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals: Rules and Course

DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals: Rules and Course

The DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals is all about the course: the sequence of eight tasks that the robots are going to try to complete in 60 minutes or less.

This was almost certainly necessary to make the 60 minute time limit realistic, and it means that we’re a lot more optimistic about robots scoring points and getting to the end.

Since it’s reasonable to expect that a bunch of teams will probably score eight points (we saw several complete the entire course during test runs on Thursday), our guess is that most teams will go for a solid, stately eight points on Friday, and then crank things up to “risky” to see how low of a time they can clock in on Saturday.

Robots start the course inside a running Polaris Ranger XP 900, which teams are allowed to slightly modify (a maximum of five minutes with no tools) to help their robots operate the vehicle.

Egress just means getting out of the vehicle, and this is probably the most difficult part of the entire DRC Finals course, because the robot has to extricate itself from a complicated driving position and then transfer its weight and balance to outside of the vehicle.

Robots are not required to put the vehicle in park first, but as DARPA comments, it “would be prudent.” The door is 33 inches wide inside, has a lever handle, and can be pushed open after the handle is rotated.

The goal is to cut out the circle completely (no piece of the circle can be left on the wall), and if the robot is successful in doing this, it gets a point, even if it drops the drill onto the concrete, which is what all the robots are doing immediately after they’re done.


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South Korean Team Takes $2 Million Top Prize At DARPA Robotics Challenge

By the end of the day Saturday, the second and last full day of the finals of a three-year-long search for a champion, Team KAIST, from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, had claimed the $2 million top prize and permanent rights to brag that it had bested worthy competitors from august institutions like Carnegie Mellon University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and others across the world.

Each team’s robot got two shots at the course, attempting to score points by driving a utility vehicle down a dirt track, exiting the vehicle, opening and going through a door, closing a valve, cutting through a piece of drywall, tackling a surprise task, crossing a field of rubble, and then climbing a short set of stairs.

Many Robots Excel on First Day of DARPA Finals

On the first day of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Robotic Challenge Finals here yesterday, one human-robot team had a perfect score and many others got high scores on what event organizers determined to be the hardest course any robot has ever tackled.

This is year three of the robotic effort and the last competition of the DRC, created to drive the development of robots capable of saving lives in the first hours and days of a disaster like 9-11 or the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant meltdown in Japan.

The robots drive a utility vehicle, get out of the vehicle and open a door, find and close a valve, use a tool to cut through a wall, do the surprise task, clear debris or negotiate rough terrain, and climb a set of stairs to finish.

The public events are taking place here at the Fairplex, formerly known as the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, and yesterday spectators got into the spirit of the competition, yelling and clapping after robots completed each task, screaming “one” each time a robot earned a point, and groaning sympathetically when a robot missed a point or fell down.

JPL’s robot is called RoboSimian, a simian-inspired limbed robot that JPL says “will use its four general-purpose limbs and hands, capable of mobility and manipulation, to achieve passively stable stances, create multi-point anchored connections to supports … and brace itself during forceful manipulation operations.”

Pratt said he thought the particular way that the team had the robot egress from the vehicle, “and watching this spider-like thing go from being inside this little car, trying to drive, to getting out of it in this dance, was a very elegant and beautiful thing to see.”

“Tomorrow,” she added, “we're going to live in a world where there's a path to a future where robots actually can work with us and do the hard work that's involved in disaster relief to save lives, to mitigate those kinds of disasters.”

DARPA Robotics Challenge

and two live hardware challenges, the DRC Trials in December 2013 and the DRC Finals in June 2015.[2] [3] Besides spurring development of semi-autonomous robots, the DRC also sought to make robotic software and systems development more accessible beyond the end of the program.

To that end, the DRC funded the adaptation of the GAZEBO robot simulator by the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) for DRC purposes and the construction of six Boston Dynamics ATLAS robots that were given to the teams that performed best in the VRC.[4] Dr. Gill Pratt, Program Manager DARPA Robotics Challenge described DARPA and its goals with the Robotics Challenge:[5] DARPA’s role is to spur innovation.

Tracks B and C will go through the Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC), after which successful teams may receive funding for subsequent stages.[4] Applications for tracks A and B closed in May 2012.[6] The track C application window closed on 18 December 2012, though late applications were still being considered as of January 2013,[7] though participants may still download the DRC Simulator, an open source application created by the Open Source Robotics Foundation.[8] Track D was open for registration through October 2013.[9] The signup site for Tracks C and D (no funding) shows illustrations of robots with most largely conforming to humanoid layouts (bipedal with two arms).

DARPA will provide to some participants 'a robotic hardware platform with arms, legs, torso and head.[1] In August 2012, DARPA announced that it would pay about $10.9 million to Boston Dynamics to build seven platforms based on the PETMAN project by August 2014.[12][13][14] The contest will also include 'supervised autonomy' tasks in which non-expert operators will be allowed/required to complete tasks using the robotic vehicle.

The Challenge will focus on the ability to complete such supervised autonomy tasks 'despite low fidelity (low bandwidth, high latency, intermittent) communications.'[4] The DRC Trials occurred on December 20 and 21, 2013 in Florida.

Twenty-five of the top robotics organizations in the world gathered to compete for $3.5 million in prizes as they attempted a simulated disaster-response course.[20] The 25 teams competing for the Finals are:[21] In the Finals, three teams had a perfect score of 8.

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