Teams from eight countries competed in the first round of the challenge to develop a disaster-response robot.
DARPA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
This is the ultimate video game.
Except in this game, turning on a garden hose is an enormously difficult task, requiring huge teams of scientists and decades of acquired technology.
About 26 teams from eight countries competed June 17-21 in the Virtual Robotics Challenge, the first round of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, using complex software to direct virtual robots in a cloud-based simulator that looks like a 3-D video game.
The overall challenge for the teams is to develop software that can operate a humanoid robot supplied by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) across a low-bandwidth network, which is expected to be the only type of network available to first responders in a disaster scenario.
This first round was a software competition in which teams used software of their own design to have a simulated ATLAS robot navigate a simulated disaster zone that looked something like suburbia gone wrong. For three days, competitors stared into computer screens in their respective far-flung labs and offices, instructing their virtual robots to complete a series of challenges, including driving a vehicle and walking over uneven ground. Robots also had to pick up a hose, connect it to a spigot, and turn it on.