DARPA Names 11 Teams to Participate in Subterranean Challenge’s First Circuit

Jeff Brody

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has chosen 11 global teams to compete for more than $3.5M in prizes through demonstration of technology platforms in physical and virtual tunnel operations during the first leg of the Subterranean Challenge.

The “systems” or physical operation teams will deploy sensors and related technologies to detect artifacts and remotely navigate a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Mining Program-managed defunct mine from Aug. 15 to 22, DARPA said Tuesday.

The “virtual” teams will concurrently compete for events that require software and algorithm development as well as the use of simulation technology and models to map a tunnel environment.

The winning systems team will receive a maximum of $2M during the final event, with self-funded teams eligible for an up to $200K additional prize. The virtual challenge winner will get up to $1.5M, while self-funded groups may receive a maximum of $500K in additional prizes.

DARPA intends to announce more teams qualified for the virtual event by June 10 ahead of the SubT Challenge’s urban and cave circuits slated for February and August 2020, respectively.

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