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DARPA sets finalists for 'high-risk, high-reward' robotics challenge

Sharon Gaudin | March 6, 2015

Teams get points for every task completed and will be judged on how fast they accomplish them.

Teams can bypass any task they get stuck on, sacrificing the points they would have otherwise gotten. For instance, teams can decide if they want their robot to walk to the disaster scene instead of driving.

As opposed to 2013, when each team had 30 minutes to finish each task, the teams this time will have only one hour to complete the entire course.

"This will be faster than what you saw at the trials and a significant step forward," said Pratt. "We're raising the bar significantly. We are trying to find the sweet spot between too easy and too hard. I'm very impressed with the progress that the teams have made."

Pratt said he and his team have been traveling around the world to see the progress the 25 robotics teams have been making.

This week and next, the teams also have the opportunity to go to a test site in South Carolina to try out their robots in a working test bed. It's also a chance for DARPA to make sure that its equipment and disaster site simulation works as planned.

"We're excited to see so much international interest in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals," said Pratt. "The diverse participation indicates not only a general interest in robotics, but also the priority many governments are placing on furthering robotic technology. As this technology becomes increasingly global, cooperating with the United States in areas where there is mutual concern, such as disaster response and homeland security, stands to benefit every country involved."


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