DARPA robotics challenge results and at the end of 2014 robots should demonstrate the ability to autonomously carry out simple commands

The DARPA robotics challenge finals had the following top five finishers

1. SCHAFT from Japan, owned by Google.
2. Atlas-Ian from Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition it developed software for Boston Dynamics’ ATLAS robot.
3. CMU’s Tartan Rescue
4. A team from MIT
5. NASA JPL’s RoboSimian

KurzweilAI reports the Finals will occur at the end of 2014 and will require robots to attempt a circuit of consecutive physical tasks, with degraded communications between the robots and their operators; the winning team will receive a $2 million prize.

“The Trials provide an important baseline on the current state of robotics today and their potential for future use in disaster response,” according to a DARPA statement. “Technologies resulting from the DRC will transform the field of robotics and catapult forward development of robots featuring task-level autonomy that can operate in the hazardous, degraded conditions common in disaster zones.

“By the time of the DRC Finals, we expect the robots will demonstrate roughly the competence of a two-year-old child, giving them the ability to autonomously carry out simple commands such as ‘Clear the debris in front of you’ or ‘Close the valve.’ The robots will still need to be told by human operators which tasks to chain together to achieve larger goals, but DARPA’s hope is that this demonstration will show the promise disaster response robots hold for mitigating the effects of future disasters.”

SCHAFT Inc. is building a bipedal robot based on mature hardware and software designed for its existing HRP-2 robot. SCHAFT will create an Intelligent Robot Kernel in which it will combine the necessary software modules for recognition, planning, motion generation, motion control and a user interface. The group will divide into three teams to execute the tasks: hardware design, software integration and scenario testing.

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