This year's DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials will be held in Florida on December 20-21, 2013. These trials are designed to foster the development of robots with capabilities that enable them to operate in hazardous situations, allowing relief agencies to reduce the risk of personnel being harmed during rescue operations. The trials will pit a variety of robots and software against each other in a series of eight simulated tasks that would need to be undertaken in real life disaster situations.
The DARPA Robotics Challenge aims to develop a robot that can work with humans in disaster-stricken places, combining the strengths of both humans and machines to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of rescue campaigns. While DARPA's Track A teams are developing their own robots as well as the software required to enable their robots to accomplish the challenges set for them, Track B/C teams have been supplied with a Boston Dynamics ATLAS humanoid robot and will be required develop software to improve its resilience to disaster situations.
The first round of the virtual challenge was completed in June, which involved a competition in the Robotics Challenge Simulator. Six Track A teams and seven Track B/C teams qualified to continue on to the finals.
To test the robots abilities and skills in the December trials, all robots will be tasked to complete the following: Driving a utility vehicle, walking across rubble, restoring access to a blocked entryway, opening a door and entering a building, climbing a ladder and walking (or crawling) across a catwalk, finding and closing a valve to stop the flow from a leaking pipe, and attaching a fire hose or other connector.