The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is all set to host an international robotics meet on December 20. The key idea behind the global challenge is to determine the efficiency of robotics systems in meeting real world challenges. The key focus of the meet would be to test the efficiency of the robots in such situations where direct human intervention can be very dangerous. The situations cited by the DARPA include that of a nuclear meltdown or a major natural catastrophe. Disabling of explosives in critical points of conflict is also going to enact a major role in the future robotics requirement. The upcoming challenge would test the aforementioned skills in robots from seven finalist teams competing with their Atlas robots.
Meet the Atlas robot from Boston Dynamics. This 330 pound, six feet two robot is capable of completing complicated tasks with high levels of efficiency. In fact, developing the potential of the Atlas robots is one of the major objectives of the contest. As part of the protocol, the DARPA has been providing the Atlas robots to quite a few teams to allow for different customized developments on the intelligent machines. To be held in Florida, the competition is going to be an interesting meet. The different teams are currently busy with the last minute preparations of the robots through the customized software programs.
The original developers of the Atlas intended to develop a robot that can operate efficiently in highly difficult terrains where direct human intervention can be highly impractical. The original actions of the robots included picking up an assigned object and carrying it from one location to another according to the instructions. As a pre-stage of the challenge, DARPA arranged a Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC) in July. The VRC finalized seven participants who finally met at the Boston Dynamics facility in Waltham, Massachusetts.
There, the seven teams received their versions of Atlas robots to continue with the customization. The Atlas is one of the latest humanoid systems in the world, and the upcoming competition is definitely going to present a detailed perspective on the capacity of these machines. DARPA simplifies the work of the teams by ensuring that they do not have to work from scratch to set up the robots. The physical robotics challenge simulator is capable of implementing the software algorithms into the robot systems.
The IHMC (Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition) is one of the seven participating teams in the meet. The company uploaded a recent video to show the progress of their Atlas systems. The video revealed that a lot of work was necessary because their Atlas did not exhibit perfect control in covering an exceedingly rough terrain. In fact, the robot even lost its walking grip at the displayed experiment. However, one must consider the fact that the test did show impressive results considering the fact that IHMC purportedly disabled the sophisticated walking sensors in the robot. Even then, Atlas was able to accomplish the assigned task, overcoming major obstacles.