This weekend the two-day Defense Advancement Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge (DRC) competition concluded, with a team from South Korea winning the top prize of $2 million. The victorious humanoid robot, DRC-Hubo, was designed by Team KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) which consists of researchers, professional partners and students.
Twenty four teams/robots took part in the DRC competition over the weekend. Phys.org reports that half of the teams came from the USA, five from Japan, three from South Korea, two from Germany, one from Italy and one from Hong Kong. Sadly there was no UK entry.
DRC-Hubo and two other competitors
The competition involved a disaster-response challenge which was inspired by the kinds of tasks that needed to be carried out in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Japan nuclear meltdown. In the video, embedded above, you can see the DRC-Hubo robot access control panels, interact with levers and wheels, climb over rubble and stairs, use power tools and even drive a vehicle - to complete the competition tasks in 44 and a half minutes.
DRC-Hubo has been in development since 2002, is 180cm (6ft) tall and weighs 80Kg. While the DRC-Hubo bipedal robot doesn't look very fleet-of-foot, it beat the second and third place competitors by quite a large margin. The second placed IHMC Robotics and their Running Man (Atlas) robot were 6 minutes slower and won $1 million. The third placed Tartan Rescue and their robot called CHIMP were 10 minutes slower than DRC-Hubo and won $500,000.
While we must celebrate the achievement of the challenge winning robots, IEE Spectrum made an amusing 'blooper reel' from the weekend's proceedings which is worth a watch if you want a giggle. See below.