A robotics team from South Korea took home the $2 million first-place prize in a competition this weekend to design robots that could aid humans in a natural or man-made disaster. The contest is a battle of robots on an obstacle course meant to simulate conditions similar to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.
Team Kaist’s DRC-Hubo humanoid robot defeated 22 others to win the top $2m prize from the US Department of Defense’s Darpa research unit. The robots had an hour to complete a series of tasks, such as a driving a car and walking up steps.
The robot from South Korean Team KAIST swept the field at the DARPA Robotics Challenge, successfully completing all tasks in the least amount of time. Team Kaist’s DRC-Hubo robot completed the course in less than 45 minutes.
The challenge involved a series of tasks for the robots to complete, somewhat autonomously, with intermittent connectivity with their operators to simulate real disaster conditions.
Team Kaist took the $2m first prize (Image credit: DARPA)
The challenge was the first where robots performed without being tethered and there were plenty of hard falls, soliciting groans and laughter from the crowds at the contest in Pomona, California.
The other tasks the robots were set included getting out of a car, opening a door, drilling a hole in a wall, turning a valve and crossing rubble either by clearing a path or walking over it. Team Kaist was the fastest, completing all the tasks in 44 minutes and 28 seconds.