The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has decided to cancel the physical course of its cave circuit event for the Subterranean Challenge and conduct only an all-virtual competition to evaluate proposed situational awareness platforms in that particular underground environment.
DARPA said Friday it made the decision to ensure the safety of participants amid the COVID-19 pandemic and set a Sept. 15 qualification deadline for the Cave Circuit Virtual Competition.
Qualified virtual teams will aim to identify artifacts in a simulated cave environment using a set of robotic and sensor systems that each team will assemble based on configurations from a technology repository.
The completed tunnel and urban undergound circuits of the SubT Challenge featured both physical systems and virtual competitions. According to DARPA, it will incorporte the three subdomains into the final event to be held in the second half of 2021.
Finalists for the systems track can vie for up to $2M in prizes while virtual competitors can compete for as much as $1.5M.