Humanoid robot tops other bots in defense agency’s challenge

EXIT THE VEHICLE  A robot called DRC-HUBO, which stands 1.8 meters tall and weighs 80 kilograms, successfully climbed out of a vehicle after driving on a course at the DARPA Robotics Challenge. 

DARPA

A human-sized robot named DRC-HUBO lumbered into first place in the finals of DARPA’s Robotics Challenge, a contest designed to inspire the creation of robots that can work in disaster zones.

The robot, a sleek silver-and-blue machine with wheels on its knees, completed an eight-obstacle course in 44 minutes and 28 seconds, besting 22 other robotic contenders June 5-6 in Pomona, Calif. DRC-HUBO’s team, a Korean group called KAIST, won $2 million in prize money.  The second place team, IHMC Robotics from Pensacola, Fla. guided their bot through the course in 50 minutes and 26 seconds and took home $1 million.

DARPA kicked off the contest in 2012 in response to the lack of rescue robots able to help out in the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Meghan Rosen headhsot

Meghan Rosen is a staff writer who reports on the life sciences for Science News. She earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology with an emphasis in biotechnology from the University of California, Davis, and later graduated from the science communication program at UC Santa Cruz.

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