The DARPA Robotics Challenge intends to jump-start development of robots that can respond to disasters – both man-made and natural. Robots that compete in the DRC are designed to work in dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environments. They must open doors, turn valves, and connect a hose. They must use hand tools to cut through a panel. They must drive a vehicle, clear debris, and climb a stair ladder. It’s all part of a disaster response scenario that the robots must complete during the challenge.
These tasks are relatively easy for humans, but very difficult for robots. Performing them requires significant advances in perception, supervised autonomy, decision-making, mobility, dexterity, strength, and endurance. At stake is a $2 million grand prize and bragging rights as the most capable robot on the planet.
Tartan Rescue’s CHIMP (CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform) placed third in a field of sixteen teams in the DRC Trials, held at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on December 20-21, 2013. CHIMP scored 18 out of a possible 32 points and qualified for additional DARPA funding. The Tartan Rescue Team is now getting CHIMP ready to compete in the DRC Finals in December, 2014.