South Korea's Transforming, Bi-Pedal Robot Wins DARPA Contest

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

International teams of robotic engineers descended on Pomona, California last weekend to compete in the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) annual robotics contest. A total of 25 robots from Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, China, South Korea, and the United States attempted to complete a series of trials to find out which could best assist during disasters.

The South Korean KAIST team's bi-pedal, transforming DRC-Hubo robot won the competition's top prize of US$2 million after it successfully navigated the course in under 45 minutes. Its eight tasks included navigating rubble-laden terrain, driving a car, tripping circuit breakers, turning a valve, activating an emergency switch, cutting a hole through a wall, climbing up a set of a stairs, and exiting a building.

The large crowd became ecstatic as the DRC-Hubo took its last few steps to victory on a set of stairs.

One member of Team KAIST, Jung Woo Heo, references the popular Korean mecha animation Robot Taekwon V and its influence on his childhood.

The second place Team IHMC Robotics from Florida and its Running Man robot, won US$1 million and Team Tartan Rescue from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and their CHIMP robot took third place with a US$500,000 prize.

Thousands of attendees watched the finals between the top robots. Unfortunately, many team's robots failed. Japan's Team NEDO-JSK had to remove their creation from the course on a stretcher.

The competition was put together after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.

You can see more videos of the multi-day event at DARPA's official YouTube channel.

[Via The Verge]

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