Starting on Friday, finalists in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) will put their high-tech bots to the test. Above, you can see video of some of the robots going through a practice run. On June 5 and 6, the robotic finalists will have to complete a circuit of tasks with limited input from their human controllers.
Videos of individual courses, as well as coverage of the overall event, are streaming at the DRC Web site. Here's what's going on at the blue course, for example:
If you've read about a cool robot during the course of the past few years, chances are pretty good that it was being groomed for these challenges. The winning team will receive $2 million from DARPA, with the first two runner-ups receiving $1 million and $500,000, respectively. Here are the 25 finalists:
For more info on the individual bots and the teams that built them, check out the full graphic here.
These robots aren't artificially intelligent, or even truly autonomous. They rely on human controllers.
But a big part of the DRC's final round is testing what happens when connection to that human controller is severed. In a disaster or a war zone, the military can't have its bots sitting helpless every time something goes wrong with communication. To win, these bots will have to show they can complete basic tasks without the help of their masters.
And the clock is ticking. The robots get just 60 minutes to complete the tasks outlined below, and they get extra points for speed.
Plus they have to do it using a single battery charge. No sleeping on the job!