DARPA Robotic Challenge Wrapped Up Last Week

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) last week concluded its two-year tech challenge.

DARPA, the Pentagon's emerging technology group, hosted the robotics challenge finals last weekend in Pomona, California.

Several teams from all over the world including countries like the United States, Italy, Germany, South Korea and Japan, designed robots to complete in the basic tasks that might prove useful in case of a crisis.

Tasks assigned for robots in competition included walking up stairs, driving alone, turning valves and navigating through rubble, among others.

As per organizers of the competition, participant robots completed similar tasks on the competition course, in conditions designed to simulate a disaster scene.

They said the course of every challenge was progressively more difficult. In the final phase, the steams were not allowed to belay their robots, preventing a fall.

Robots in the final round were required to be battery powered, to show they could operate in the absence of a continuous power source.

It has been said that DARPA launched the first phase of the challenge in 2013 in response to the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan.

During that disaster, robots proved ineffective at tasks such as manipulating buttons or activating pressure valves, DARPA spokesman Jared Adams told Associated Press.

A team from South Korea, with its robot DRC-Hubo, took the top spot and $2 million in prize money, said organizers.

In addition teams from Florida and Pittsburgh won $1 million and $500,000, respectively.

DARAP spokesman Jared Adams said, "Still, humanitarian groups are probably several years away from these types of robots being deployed in a disaster zone. Right now, we feel like we've shown the art of the possible".