DARPA Welcomes "Virtual Robots" to Robotics Challenge

DARPA Welcomes "Virtual Robots" to Robotics Challenge

DARPA unleashes open source, cloud based software for robot developers world wide.

DARPA has opened up the next phase of their robotics challenge to "anyone with the skills to develop the software needed to advance core robotic software capabilities" via an online registration system and robotics simulation software. Dubbed the "Virtual Robotics Challenge," the contest is one of four in DARPA's effort to develop robots that can assist humans in disasters and emergency response scenarios. The concept behind the open source program, called the DRC Simulator, is to allow individuals with the know-how, but not the hardware, to compete and diversify the field of robotics development. The beta version of the simulator is already available after a month in development, but potential competitors must work fast because the Virtual Robotics Challenge is scheduled for June 2013.

Skills listed for a potential developer include "expertise in software for robotic perception, planning, control and human-robot interface, and expertise in physics-based games, models, and simulations, as well as open source code." Gill Pratt, the program manager for DRC, said that "The DRC Simulator is going to be one of DARPA's legacies to the robotics community." Ideally, the cloud-based nature of the simulator will allow greater innovation in robotics by doing away with expensive physical hardware and prototyping - barriers that keep otherwise capable developers out of robotics.

Those who qualify in June and move beyond the Virtual Robotics Challenge will receive DARPA funding and a modified robot developed for DARPA similar to the one in the video above. DARPA is an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for research; it was involved in the development of many technologies in the latter half of the 20th century such as the early internet and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Crowdsourcing robotics software may seem like a brilliant idea, but you have to wonder what the outcome of this will be given that DARPA's own efforts so far have uncovered such terrors as super fast robots.

Source: DARPA


While this is all pretty cool, that video is going to give me nightmares for several weeks.

Is Daft Punk making another music video?

From that video, it looks like robots have finally fallen into the uncanny valley. Here's to hoping that DARPA can pull them back out on the other side.

OH GAWD! Now we're PURPOSELY teaching them to avoid our defenses of pitfalls and hurdles!? WHY! YOU MADMEN!

(Overall it's some awesome progress in terms of robotic mobility.)

Sounds pretty good.
Assuming no one has to rescue the DARPA chief from giant robots with nuclear weapons...again.

Inb4 Skynet

OT: this is pretty cool I cant wait to see more advanced things they do with em. How about a new Battle Bots with lasers :D

Creepy, yet cool at the same time. It's fascinating to see where technology is headed. I'd rather a robot be used for dangerous missions like rescues from hot zones than humans.

i shall never understand the human need to recrate ourselves in metal
we pretty much have the Homo-erectus platform down guys it's our thing, maby we should stick to it

why not work on flying, swimming, spider / insect motion
surely we don't want to crate human 2.0 when human 1.0 needs help doing things it cant already do
i'd rather have a tin opener than an extra hand if push came to shove, you know?
Best case scenario;
we make a mega robot with reactions below a nanosecond, agility that inspires awe and intellect that ribals our greats, all in a room together
making yourself obsolete simply seems to be an illogical waste of resources
why would it need us at this point?
especially when we could funnel all this time and effort into biology and make ourselves human 2.0
even the whole deus-ex augment idea trumps out and out robots, imo

Does that video give anyone else an insane amount of the creeps. Especially the bit where it climbs the stairs and stomps along....brrrr.

Oh god I just watched the cheetah robot vid....why give it legs that look like knives? whyyyyyy?

I want robots that can be enslaved by me: they work I take the profits. PERIOD. They cannot develop conscience or we will have another Blade Runner on our hands, and we already had enough remakes.

Oh man. Maybe someone can make a new Metal Gear with this tech! Just hope the DARPA chief doesn't have a heart attack over this...

Connor Lonske:
Oh man. Maybe someone can make a new Metal Gear with this tech! Just hope the DARPA chief doesn't have a heart attack over this...

Nonsense!! Our operatives are in a perfect healthy stat--


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