Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Official Details For the DARPA Robotics Challenge

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the build-androids-that-do-not-kill-all-humans dept.

Robotics 61

An anonymous reader writes "The DARPA Robotics Challenge is offering tens of million of dollars in funding to teams from anywhere in the world to build robots capable of performing complex mobility and manipulation tasks such as walking over rubble and operating power tools. It all will culminate in an audacious competition with robots driving trucks, breaking through walls, and attempting to perform repairs in a simulated industrial-disaster setting. The winner takes all: a $2 million cash prize."

cancel ×

61 comments

DARPA is awesome (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39634855)

No other government agency inspires me like DARPA does.

Re:DARPA is awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636227)

Well, maybe because the DARPA is not a government!

Also, you may not look with enough attention to what governments other than yours are doing.

"Show me a piece of future technology" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39634927)

The things Boston Dynamics are already putting together give me nightmares. I'm pretty sure the only reason they don't use the name Cyberdyne Systems is because someone from the future came back and told them not to...

That's it? (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39634947)

A robot that does anything like that is going to cost more than 2 million.

Re:That's it? (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635091)

Yea, I'm sure it will be worth lots more than the $2 million that DARPA is going to give.

Re:That's it? (3, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635147)

$2 million gets added to your R&D budget on this adventurous robotics project that you can then sell to governments all over the world (or at least the US, since this is DARPA).

Re:That's it? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635465)

Hell, we don't need the government for adventurous, useless robotic machines.

Purdue University runs a contest every year [wired.com] .

Re:That's it? (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39640367)

You give unlimited rights to DARPA (and the US govt), by participating in this contest. I am pretty sure the US govt would be willing to pay a lot more if you were to sell robots that perform these tasks.

Re:That's it? (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#39644313)

DARPA doesn't manufacture anything though. They might hand off the designs to another contractor like GD or something, but I'd be willing to bet that if it was good and you offered it for sale, then the government would come buying. The fact that the government has unlimited rights to the design might even be seen as a plus in the procurement office.

There is a danger they would hand the plans off to a different contractor to have them build it, but I think you could make the case that your company would be the most qualified to actually do the work.

And there are still all of the non-governmental customers who would be interested in a flexible and capable robot.

Re:That's it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39644095)

Per the PDF at the bottom of https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=ee8e770bcfe1fe217472342c67d6bd5a&tab=core&_cview=0

"DARPA desires Unlimited Rights, as defined in DFARS 252.227-7013 and
-7014,12 to all deliverables generated by the DARPA Robotics Challenge performer under this
effort except clearly-identified, widely-available, commercial software tools, with their
commercial availability described and substantiated in the proposal."

"2.4 Intellectual Property {1}
Per section VIII. below, offerors responding to this BAA must submit a separate list of all
technical data or computer software that will be furnished to the Government with other than
unlimited rights. The Government will assume unlimited rights if offerors fail to identify any
intellectual property restrictions in their proposals. Include in this section all proprietary claims
to results, prototypes, deliverables or systems supporting and/or necessary for the use of the
research, results, prototypes and/or deliverables. If no restrictions are intended, then the offeror
should state ?NONE?."

So you cannot sell it to the US or DARPA as they will already own it.
A businessperson would have to be extraordinarily foolish to submit anything on the mere chance of winning $2 million.
This would be like buying several million dollars of lottery tickets.

Re:That's it? (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 2 years ago | (#39653013)

These are the same rules that generally apply with all government research. Unlimited rights does not mean that they own the copyrights, patents, etc.. It just means that they can take your data to use it internally for there own purposes. One reason for this is that there are a lot of small companies that can't build up the manufacturing capability to meet the demands of the government. Just FYI, there are a few very very rich defense companies that have managed to do just fine with these same rules.

Re:That's it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635095)

RTFS...

is offering tens of million of dollars in funding

Re:That's it? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635387)

That 2 million is more of a performance bonus rather than a contract.

Re:That's it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635569)

The key word is "challenge".

Wait a minute... (1)

EliSowash (2532508) | more than 2 years ago | (#39634981)

robots driving trucks, breaking through walls, and attempting to perform repairs in a simulated industrial-disaster setting.

I think I saw all that in 1984 [imdb.com] .

Ok I'll bite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635027)

Do the specs call for a human exoshell so they can be transported back in time?

Immenant Disaster... (3, Interesting)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635209)

This is classic DARPA... while these grand challenges are good for focusing research initiatives, they tend to ask for much more than the field can offer in a reasonable amount of time given the funds. Look at the first grand challenge: not a single team finished the race, and even the best team from the best school with the most funding only finished 12km of the proposed 240km course.

It was an utter embarrassment. Only after they relaxed the requirements in 2005 of the competition to more accurately reflect what was humanly (or more aptly roboticly) possible at the time was the competition a success.

Now they're expecting a full-on humanoid that can drive a car, bust down walls, move rubble, operate tools, all in unstructured environments? Look at the DARPA ARM grand challenge, where the state of the art could barely do these kinds of manipulations in a controlled well-lit laboratory.

On the other hand, I suppose if they're allowing teleoperation/assisted autonomy that makes things a lot easier. I guess I just don't want a repeat of the collective embarrassment of the robotics community that happened in 2004.

Re:Immenant Disaster... (2)

one_who_uses_unix (68992) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635279)

RTFM - the robot does not have to be humanoid, it simply needs to be compatible with human tools.

Re:Immenant Disaster... (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635581)

Did you RTFA? The competition will involve much more than that: it needs to drive a vehicle, including entering it, using all the controls as-is, and exiting the vehicle; it needs to climb ladders and traverse grated catwalks; it needs to use tools made specifically for humans; it needs to traverse several types of terrain, including moving over rubble and then move said rubble.... exactly what kind of robot would you propose that can do all that?

If it is not a humanoid it is going to be highly engineered for this specific competition which defeats the purpose of a grand challenge.

Re:Immenant Disaster... (1)

one_who_uses_unix (68992) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636093)

I did read part of the FM :) My comment wasn't intended to suggest that any robot of non-humanoid shape would meet the requirements, just that humanoid shape isn't a requirement - only the illustration.

You are correct - the requirements are stiff. Many of the challenges lend themselves better to a multi-legged chassis with manipulators that can handle tools. The human form is tricky for a number of reasons, odd center of gravity, etc. that are more suited to biological form than a machine. This looks like a great challenge.

Re:Immenant Disaster... (2)

savuporo (658486) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636421)

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=hrp+promet [youtube.com]
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dlr+justin [youtube.com]

The ask is not unreasonable at all. Just requires focus, and investment. Prizes generally generate much more research dollars put into the thing than the prize value, so it's a super good investment.

Re:Immenant Disaster... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636753)

TBH I'm kind of hoping for a hexapod with flexible appendages. It could have a spider-like gait, and stand up against walls to e.g. open doors.

I have no idea if that makes technical sense, but it would look creepy and awesome as hell.

More seriously, I think the key to solving this challenge will lie exactly in thinking outside the box and asking "what, except a humanoid could do these tasks, and what advantages could we get from being a robot?"

Could you e.g. roll on wheels to save power where the ground is flat? At the very least you wouldn't have to walk upright. A Segway with arms could crawl over uneven ground, but it would need very strong arms to pull itself up a ladder, and would have difficulty with operating both the wheel and pedals. Maybe it could work with more arms? Or maybe a chimpanzee-like build.

Or I guess you could dress up a trained chimpanzee in plastic and tin foil and hope no one notices. "Oh, the banana? That's, uh, for the Mr. Fusion."

Re:Immenant Disaster... (1)

jxander (2605655) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636851)

.... exactly what kind of robot would you propose that can do all that?

Personally, I was thinking of something vaguely humanoid, but decidedly different. Longer arms than a normal human would allow the 'bot to walk as a quadruped over the rough terrain for better stability. Might also be able to work in wheels somewhere, allowing for better conservation of energy when traveling long distances. Two-pronged hands (i.e. like a wrench) would allow for grabbing well enough to operate a steering wheel, grasp and open a door, etc, while being much easier to build and program and the 5-digit train-wreck we sport. Really, the only humanoid features it would require are arms/legs, and that's mostly just for vehicle operation. Give the thing it's own set of wheels (elbows and knees, perhaps) and the John Deere becomes redundant.

The sensor suite (aka eyes) could just as easily be in the chest as opposed to on top (or in both locations for better 3d vision.) It could have multiple sets of arms/legs for different functions. Olfactory and auditory sensors (nose and ears) should probably be located in the arms for better pinpointing. Easier to move the arm around and play "hotter/colder" as opposed to the head.

Humans, as we exist today, are the result of hundreds of thousands of years of trial and error evolution (and that's just us sapiens) built to survive and thrive in many MANY vastly different conditions and climates, and serve many different functions simultaneously. Building a robot to serve a fairly straightforward process *should* turn out a very different end result than you or I, even if it has to share our tools.

Re:Immenant Disaster... (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635609)

And compatible with a drivers seat in a vehicle that has not been modified to accept the robot.

It will need a fairly human shape to fit in the drivers seat, it will need fairly human upper limbs to use the controls and fairly human legs to operate the pedals.

Re:Immenant Disaster... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636069)

Nonsense it just needs to be able to make the vehicle compatible wit itself. any robot that can break through a wall and wield industrial tools used for humans can remove a car seat.

Re:Immenant Disaster... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636465)

"Goddammit! This vehicle has been driven by robots. My ass is killing me!"
Don't get your vehicle driven by robots. Buy the Robo-stopper 2000(tm)! Only $599! (see the alternative price list for the employees of the US government)
"Finally I can rely on the presence of a decent car seat. I can feel my ass thanking me already!"
Buy now!

Re:Immenant Disaster... (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636611)

Damnit you're right.

Here is video of an advanced prototype from the 80's modifying a vehicle for use.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TBcQ8h_kXU [youtube.com]

Can you just imagine what they have now?

Re:Immenant Disaster... (1)

YourMotherFucker (2587859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635289)

Fuck you you piece of shit. I wipe my ass with your mother's face, fuck.

Re:Immenant Disaster... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635399)

Failing doesn't necessarily imply "utter embarrassment", "disaster", or a waste of time and money. Failure is the only way to assess what's possible and what isn't. If you succeed with flying colors, it just leaves you wondering how much more could have been achieved if you'd set the bar higher.

Re:Immenant Disaster... (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635585)

DARPA wants the Terminator, instead they get Furby!

Re:Immenant Disaster... (4, Interesting)

ciantic (626550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635649)

From the IEEE-Article: "What’s more, the early reports incorrectly asserted that, because the challenge seems so difficult, teams were not expected to succeed the first time around. This is not the case, Pratt said. 'The challenge will be adjusted as we get experience with the teams over this first phase,' he said. 'What we’re going to make sure is that the challenge is difficult but not impossible.'"

Re:Immenant Disaster... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635793)

On the other hand, I suppose if they're allowing teleoperation/assisted autonomy that makes things a lot easier.

They are. From DARPA's Robotics Challenge document:

Supervised autonomy will be developed to allow robot control by non-expert operators, to lower operator workload, and to allow effective operation despite low fidelity (low bandwidth, high latency, intermittent) communications.

And in round 2, it worked. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639945)

I guess I just don't want a repeat of the collective embarrassment of the robotics community that happened in 2004.

Yes, the 2004 Grand Challenge was a disaster. I was there to watch. In the 2005 Grand Challenge, all 23 teams that made it to the California Motor Speedway had better systems than anyone had in 2004. I had a team there. Yes, the course in 2005 was easier, but some of the vehicles there could have completed the 2004 course.

I don't think the humanoid challenge will succeed on the first try, either, since the schedule is so tight. The first trial with real robots is only 15 months away. By try 2 or 3, though, a robot will probably complete the event.

DARPA really did get mobile robotics going. For years, there were all these little groups in academia, typically one professor and three to five grad students, turning out minor improvements and theses. Tony Tether kicked academia into high gear with the 2005 Grand Challenge, DARPA made it clear, quietly, that if the schools with DoD robotics funding didn't produce, the money would be turned off. DARPA had been funding Stanford and CMU since the 1960s without getting anything really useful. That's why entire CS departments were focused on the first Grand Challenge.

Sometimes somebody has to kick ass. As an example of the DARPA attitude, the 2005 Grand Challenge events were run by a Marine colonel. ("We're starting at 0600...")

Re:Immenant Disaster... (1)

steveg (55825) | more than 2 years ago | (#39651043)

Relaxed the requirements how? As I recall the second year course was more difficult than the first one.

ION: Beijing, we offer 2.4 mivion dovars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635267)

Just kidding... ;)

Looks like a job for... (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635319)

Me!

1. Execute complex tasks in dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environments." Check! (I assume Detroit counts.)

2. Supervised autonomy. Check!

3. Mounted mobility, dismounted mobility . Check!

4. Dexterity, strength, and platform endurance. Check!

Does an ACL reconstruction count as "robotic"?

Re:Looks like a job for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39637125)

1. Construct robot suit
2. Win DARPA robotics challenge
3. Profit!

Does the robot that breaks through walls... (2)

simonbp (412489) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635517)

...have to yell "OH YEAH"! and be red...

Re:Does the robot that breaks through walls... (1)

ThreeDeeNut (1061050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635657)

now that was worth a good laugh. thanks!

DARPA: Precipitating tomorrow's dystopia today. (1, Funny)

Tommy Bologna (2431404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635529)

The winner will have the privilege of knowing he/she was responsible for indirectly enslaving everyone he/she ever loved. Laws of unintended consequences, folks. Think about it, these contests are not underwritten by the CareBears. This is the US Department of Defense. Remember those pesky drones we built to help us with foreign wars? Our chickens are coming home to roost -- almost literally.

Re:DARPA: Precipitating tomorrow's dystopia today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635613)

The winner will have the privilege of knowing he/she was in a position to sneak in backdoors and overrides that will probably persist for 70 generations of refinement to his/her robot design.

FTFY.

Re:DARPA: Precipitating tomorrow's dystopia today. (1)

Tommy Bologna (2431404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636129)

... in a position to sneak in backdoors and overrides that will probably persist for 70 generations of refinement to his/her robot design.

That's about a week in duration at DARPA. You can be the proudest fellow around until the next installment of Dancing with the Stars is broadcast. That's certainly worth a big pat on the back.

Re:DARPA: Precipitating tomorrow's dystopia today. (1)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636123)

Slashdot, where yesterday's technophiles become today's luddites.

Re:DARPA: Precipitating tomorrow's dystopia today. (2)

Tommy Bologna (2431404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636335)

The internet, where anonymity amplifies the Dunning–Kruger effect.

Re:DARPA: Precipitating tomorrow's dystopia today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636977)

No, he's pretty much right.

Re:DARPA: Precipitating tomorrow's dystopia today. (1)

Tommy Bologna (2431404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638219)

I'm gonna guess that only one of us in this thread worked at DARPA.

Re:DARPA: Precipitating tomorrow's dystopia today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39643907)

You mean anonymous coward, right? I think so.

Re:DARPA: Precipitating tomorrow's dystopia today. (1)

Tommy Bologna (2431404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39650669)

Funny, yet wrong.

Re:DARPA: Precipitating tomorrow's dystopia today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39657849)

I didn't know poity worked for DARPA. Good to know.

Re:DARPA: Precipitating tomorrow's dystopia today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39694853)

Psst, my point is that regardless of who works at DARPA, he's still right that you're being cynical and ignoring 100s of other things which might still make it worth it to work for them.

Re:DARPA: Precipitating tomorrow's dystopia today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39637721)

Judgment Day is inevitable.

Methinks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635541)

...the folks at f*ckingmachines have a proverbial "leg up" on the competition.

only 2 million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635645)

If I had a robot that could do all that I could rule the world. I certainly wouldn't sell it to the powers that be for a paltry 2 million.

Unethical research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635675)

It appals me how much positive press coverage Slashdot gives to technology obviously designed either to kill people or to aid one of the biggest mass murder factories in the world: the US military.

Yes, this is dual-use technology, which could certainly be used to help innocent civilians. But it will also undoubtedly be used to help the military be more effective killers as they operate in disaster areas they themselves have created.

Re:Unethical research (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638495)

Who cares? This is slashdot, "news for nerds", not "news for people who are scared of every new technology or government project". A robot that can do all those things seems pretty newsworthy for a site like this.

QA on April 16, 2012 "Proposers’ Day worksho (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635717)

I think this could be squeezed in the summary, it was added to end of IEEE-article:

UPDATE 12:36 p.m. From DARPA's announcement:

To answer questions regarding the Robotics Challenge and provide an opportunity for interested parties to connect, DARPA will hold a virtual Proposers’ Day workshop on April 16, 2012. This online workshop will introduce interested communities to the effort, explain the mechanics of this DARPA challenge, and encourage collaborative arrangements among potential performers from a wide range of backgrounds. The meeting is in support of the DARPA Robotics Challenge Broad Agency Announcement. More information on the BAA and Proposers’ Day is available at: http://go.usa.gov/mVj [usa.gov]

yuo Fail It? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636063)

Build one that can break through bunker walls ... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636381)

. . . and the Defense Department will pay you more than $2 million.

. . . Israel is rumored to be acquiring large amounts of clay and letters on parchment for a similar project appropriately code named as "Golem."

. . . and North Korea's missile launch will be foiled, when a Mechagodzilla springs out of the ocean and steals the missile, after emitting consuming a giant jar of Kimchi and flatulating the audience.

and when we have autonomous vehicles... (1)

steve.cri (2593117) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636671)

what will the world's millions of taxi drivers do? turn into luddites, perhaps, attacking robot cars with lug wrenches?

XKCD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39654169)

Based on the challenge requirements, it sounds like a robot avatar for a sysadmin?

https://xkcd.com/705/

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...