A South Korean robot was able to complete a larger number of disaster relief tasks than other robots who were involved in the competition and brought the team that built it the $2 million first prize.
Its name is DRC-Hubo and it comes from South Korea. The robot managed to complete eight disaster relief obstacles. These included turning valves in less than 45 minutes, walking through rubble and climbing stairs.
Its other 22 competitors were not that successful, in spite of the constant cheering coming from the spectators who attended the contest. One of the DARPA managers said that the atmosphere at the competition was very nice, as the people really tried to support the robots and showed sympathy for them whenever they fell to the ground.
Moreover, he was impressed with the way people related to one another:
“It’s an extraordinary thing, and I think this is one of the biggest lessons from DRC – the potential for robots not only to perform technical tasks for us, but to help connect people to one another,” he said.
The second prize was won by a robot called Running Man, which was designed by a team from Pensacola, Florida. This prize consisted of half the value of the first prize.
The third prize winner was CHIMP, a robot which was built by Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center and it got $ 500,000.
The competition was initiated after the nuclear disaster that took place in Japan in 2011. During the major catastrophe, people understood that it was important to engage robots in situations in which humans’ health and general safety could be at risk if they performed those tasks.
The competition took place on a racetrack in Pomona that resembled a disaster area. Most of the robots which attended the competition had taken years to be built and it became clear that a lot of technology is needed to develop a robot capable of performing such difficult tasks.
It is extremely difficult for robots to perform the same tasks as humans do because they do not have the same sense of touch.
Nevertheless, even if some of them were unable to complete certain tasks, the race was a valuable lesson for all the engineers who are looking to perfect their machines.
Image Source: govtech