DARPA to Award $2M for Next-Gen Robotic Systems

Site: DARPA.mil

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to hold a robotics competition, awarding a $2 million cash prize to the developer capable of pushing robotics to the next level. 

The Defense Department’s research arm announced Tuesday it aims to expand current robotics capabilities in order to support Pentagon disaster recovery missions. 

The competition will launch in October. DARPA said participating teams will user their developed robotics systems to compete in staged disaster response scenarios.

DARPA said robotics are already being used for defense, healthcare, industry and education applications in addition to disaster response. 

Robotic technologies played a role following the nuclear plant disaster in Japan, according to DARPA. The U.S. military assisted in diffusing explosive devices through robotic devices. 

The agency said it hopes the competition will advance robotic technologies and improve their capabilities to intervene in high-risk situations. 

The challenge calls for the development of robotic hardware and software. DARPA said the challenge is structured so to increase the diversity of projects submitted and encourages organizations worldwide to compete. 

Gill Pratt, DARPA program manager, said that the agency is looking for robotic technology that will support supervised autonomy in perception and decision-making.

Pratt also said the robots should have mount and dismount, dexterity, strength and endurance capabilities. 

DARPA will host a virtual proposer’s day workshop April 16 to answer questions about the contest.

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