New DARPA Grand Challenge Announcement Coming Soon
April 7, 2012

New DARPA Grand Challenge Announcement Coming Soon

DARPA will be issuing a Grand Challenge for experts to build a humanoid robot that can navigate their environment and handle tools.

The Pentagon agency is expected to launch the humanoid robot contest within the next few weeks.

The contest will ask engineers to build a bipedal robot that can do things like drive cars, open doors, traverse through rough terrain and show off its motor skills.

“The goal of this Grand Challenge is to create a humanoid robot that can operate in an environment built for people and use tools made for people,” Massey told in an e-mail. “The specific challenge is built around an industrial disaster response.”

This is DARPA's third Grand Challenge it has launched in recent years.  The agency's first $1 million Grand Challenge asked researchers to develop autonomous vehicles capable of traversing circuitous off-road mountain routes.

The next year, the prize was $2 million for robots to complete a 132-mile driving course.  In 2007, DARPA's next challenge was the same amount, but the winning robots were made to drive safely and obey traffic signs.

For the new contest, Massey said machine entreats may have to "get into the driver's seat and drive it to a specific location."

According to the report by Hizook, Massey said the specific tasks are:

1) The robot will maneuver to a open frame utility vehicle, such as a John Deere Gator or a Polaris Ranger. The robot is to get into the driver's seat and drive it to a specified location.

2) The robot is to get out of the vehicle, maneuver to a locked door, unlock it with a key, open the door, and go inside.

3) The robot will traverse a 100 meter, rubble strewn hallway.

4) At the end of the hallway, the robot will climb an ladder.

5) The robot will locate a pipe that is leaking a yellow-colored gas (non-toxic, non-corrosive). The robot will then identify a valve that will seal the pipe and actuate that valve, sealing the pipe.

6) The robot will locate a broken pump and replace it.

The official announcement for the new Grand Challenge will be released within a week or two, and the prize money has not been specified yet.