Robotic Challenger

MIT team prepares to meet 24 others in $2 million DARPA competition to develop disaster-assistance robots.

Video and photo by Lillie Paquette; Written by the School of Engineering

On June 5-6, a team of nearly two dozen MIT students and faculty led by Russ Tedrake from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory will compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) final in Pomona, California. The DRC is a team competition to develop robot systems capable of assisting humans in responding to natural and human-made disasters.

MIT will field one of 25 academic and industry teams from all over the country that have developed the hardware, software, sensors, and human-machine control interfaces that will enable a humanoid robot to complete a series of challenge tasks selected by DARPA for their relevance to disaster response.

Successful robots must drive a utility vehicle, get out of that vehicle, open a door, turn a valve, turn on a drill and cut an opening in a wall, perform some surprise tasks, walk over a series of obstacles, then climb stairs.

The winning team will receive a $2 million prize.

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