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The teams that will compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge have been announced today. This time around, teams will be competing to create robots that can replace humans in disaster situations. DARPA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Defense.
DARPA’s mission is to reduce the risks in humanitarian assistance. The Challenge has been inspired by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. Exposure to radiation is fatal to humans, but not for the “Fukushima 50”, a robot that ventured into the nuclear meltdown nightmare and helped abate the disaster.
The selected teams will have the task of creating robots capable of opening doors, climbing stairways, driving vehicles and connecting cables or a fire hose. The program manager for the challenge, Dr. Gill Pratt explained: “Disasters often occur in environments that have plentiful numbers of tools that are meant for human beings. And by tools, I mean things from screwdrivers to vehicles and everything in between. And often those tools are around both for construction and repair and maintenance. And, again, during the first few days after a disaster, there is no time to bring in specialized tools and, so, can we build robots that can reuse tools that were originally meant for human beings?”
For more information please visit: http://www.pcmag.com/slideshow/story/304273/darpa-wants-robotics-to-rise-to-the-challenge-of-disasters