. Big success for the DRC's Trials - Second Part

. The Virtual Robotic Challenge

. The Robot Atlas


Credit: DARPAtv



. Finale of the DARPA Robotic Challenge, DRC, at Los Angeles: NO MORE GAME!

. Limited US Robotic help for the FUKUSHIMA-DAIICHI in JAPAN!

Historical DARPA Grand Challenge

DARPA Robotics Challenge`s Trials - First Part



. National Space Defense Center 

. Army Astronauts, and more...


. Crew's preparation for the ISS  

. Space Travel : XCOR Aerospace, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, Bigelow  Aerospace & more...



***Special File - DARPA Robotic's Challenges-suite***

To participate in the competition launched by the DARPA, 4 tracks of access have been offered to individuals, institutions or companies (see chart above). As early as October 2012, according to the proposals received from the track has, the military Agency has selected 7 teams to which it has provided 1.8 million US$ for the develop of robotic systems and software. These teams are Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center, Drexel University, Raytheon, Schaft Inc., Virginia Tech, NASA's Johnson Space Center and NASA's Jet Propulsion Labotary.

For the teams from the track B, the DARPA has decided to fund 11 of them to a maximum of $375,000 US each for it to design of software robotic. These teams are Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Labotaries, RE2, University of Kansas, Carnergie Mellon University, MIT, Trac Labs, University of Washington, Florida institutes for human and machine cognition, Ben-Gurion University, NASA's Jet Propulsion Labotary and TORC Robotics.

In May and June 2013, 115 teams of the track C were registered for the virtual competition. This track is a chance for the individuals and the foreign teams to enter the competition, without material input of the DARPA. By contrast, they can earn a qualification, a financial support and a robot atlas, if they qualify for the testing of December.

The last opportunity for the virtual challenge is the track, a track offered to foreign teams who want to develop their robots and software without the financial support of the Agency. As for the competitors of the track has, participants can design of the robots of all parts. And, as for the atlas, these robots can beings powered electrically, a pneumatic way or according to a hybrid model.

To determine which teams of tracks B and C argue for the VRC, the DARPA turn ultimately fulled the qualifying rounds in the DRC Simulator from the beginning of May. Of the 100 teams registered in the competition, only 26 have been able to qualify for the confrontation of the mid-June 2013. The batch, 7 are alone and are participating in the trials of the DRC of December 2013, and this, with the financial support of the Agency and of a robot Atlas.

Finally, sixteen teams are presented in Florida: SCHAFT (S-one), IHMC Robotics (Atlas-Ian), Tartan Rescue (chimp), MIT (Atlas-Helios), JPL-NASA (RoboSimian), Traclabs (Atlas-Hercules), WRECS, Team Trooper (Trooper), Team THOR (Thor), ViGIR (Florian), KAIST, HKU, DRC-Hubo, Chiron, NASA-JSC, MOJAVATION.

The Robot Atlas

The robot Atlas measure 6 feet 2 inches, and weighs 330 pounds. It has a stereo camera equipped with at least 2 lenses, allowing a deepbinocular perception deep. Above his head, he has a lidar system which allows him to measure its distance compared to a target. This perception is done by a laser Send and the reflection of light that is returned to him or her.

In addition to its internal computer regulated in real time, a thermal system and a hydraulic pump, the Atlas has 28 hydraulic actuators for the movement of its members. Although it is equipped with strong hands and manoeuvrable allowing him to take several types of objects, its creators have added wrists modular, which makes possible the change of hands or tools such as screwdrivers, flashlights or hammers.

Its structure can also move thanks to his ankles, which have two degrees of freedom of movement, which allows its feet to move from top to bottom and left to right. For the Competition, the Atlas is fitted with either a loin, either of a attaches to the power supply and communications.

Some Reviews of the Finale in Los Angeles 

The robot HRP2 of the team AIST-Nedo of Ibaraki Japan crosses a field sprinkle of bricks. Test of balance. Credit: www.theroboticschallenge.org/

The robot Running Man of the team IHMC Robotics of Pensocola, Florida, faces the test of the opening and crossing of the door. Credit: www.theroboticschallenge.org/

The team ViGIR has appointed their robot Florian of after the patron saint of firefighters.


The rise of a scale of eight feet, with eight rungs, whose inclination can be 60 or 75 degrees, constitutes the third great task of tests. When the robot poses its two feet beyond the first bar, marked in yellow, he harvests a point and, beyond the fourth, marked in red, he deserves another point. Finally, when it will be completely on the platform, it will get a last point.

Just at right, the robot Trooper shows a lot of style in the rise of the scale. Its designer, the team trooper, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Labs, has also used the structure of a robot Atlas. For all tasks, he obtained a total of 9 points.

Single robot to have completed the test of the conduct of the vehicle, Atlas-Warner has been designed on the frame of the Atlas. Its designer finishing, the team WPI Robotics Engineering C Squad (WRECS), the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, is reached the DRC tests by the track C. This voice brings together specialists in software robotics, particularly for the maintenance of the balance, the movement and the perception robotics. The WPI team has been able to benefit from a financing and a robot atlas of DARPA. Warner has collected a total of 11 points during the tests.https://www.flickr.com/photos/113750973@N02/with/13919896522

The fourth task will require a great deal of manual dexterity in the robot because it must remove debris blockers a door. Subject to three sub-tasks, it will first of all need to remove 5 pieces of wood of 24 inches. Subsequently, the other songs will have a length of 36 inches. To obtain his third point, it will have to pass the door completely that it will be him- even open.

The robot S-one is without doubt the one that is the most shown during the tests DRC in winning 4 of 8 events, for a total of 27 points. The concept team of this champion of 4 feet 11 inches and 209 pounds, is the organization SCHAFT of Japan. It must its power and speed thanks to the use of a liquid capacitor of high-voltage which cooled its engine rather than a battery and a normal servo motor. Here, we see that moves a piece of wood of 36 inches when the test of the debris. The pieces of wood marked of yellow have a length of 24 inches, those in red, 36 inches.

The team ViGIR has appointed their robot Florian of after the patron saint of firefighters. The cross Florian is also visible on several logos of firefighters across the world. With robots as Florian, the first respondents might respond to emergencies in the future disasters, would work with humans to help reduce the consequences, including future explosions and, especially, to save lives. Between the tests DRC and the Grand Final, Florian will receive a lot of improvements, especially at the level of its autonomy.

For the first two sub-tasks, the robot removes debris of 24 and 36 inches, respectively, by moving them from their initial position to a place outside of their work environment. No debris will touch the ground between the Green Line and the door but the robot will be able to remove them on the walls, the brick walls adjacent, which is located on each side. The tests are considered completed when all the pieces of wood will have been removed from the workspace.

For the last task, the robot will have to go through the door that it will open, which has no threshold. It can move the metal structure that supported the debris, but this is not necessary. The task will be considered complete when it will have passed the door completely and that its two feet will find themselves beyond the line of arrival. If an intervention occurs during the first sub-task, all the pieces of wood will be put back in place. If this occurs during the second sub-task, the 5 songs will be replaced. By contrast, intervene during the third sub-task will result in the movement of the robot to the starting line, but no piece will be put back in place.

The DARPA considers that the difficulty of the tasks must to evolve and change as we advance in the challenge. As well, the opening of doors, which is the fifth great task, is more complex than the previous one. The robot begins in placing themselves at the Green Line and ends when it passes the red line, a distance of approximately 23 feet.

At right, Team HKU originates in the Advanced Robotics Laboratory of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Hong Kong. The designer of the Robot Atlas, Boston dynamic, has produced only 7 of its humanoid and that of the team HKU is the only copy in Asia. The Atlas measure more than 6 feet and weighs 330 pounds. Made of aluminum enriched and titanium, it costs more than $15 million HK. It is able to perform several natural movements, including the dynamic walk, sports and it can be programd for new behaviors.

The three sub-tasks related to this test give each 1 point. In the first, the robot must push the door and the increased completely, enter by the second door by pulling and enter by pulling the last weighted slightly. The test must be done in the order given. Except for the last door, the robot must operate the handle to proceed.

The sixth Great test makes appeal to the manual dexterity of the robot. On a wall of a half-inch of thickness is drawing a triangle. At each corner, green circles with a circumference of 6 inches have been drawn. In addition, wide blue stripes also of 6 inches Connect these circles, whose height varies from 36 to 48 inches. The slices will vary from 12 to 24 inches.

The robot will need to cut a part vertical, horizontal and oblique of the triangle with the aid of an electric tool and it will only 5 minutes to succeed. Each time that he will from one circle to another, it will gain a point. For the obtain. It must cut in the blue spaces and the Greens to form a triangle. Once all the cuts, the robot must push the song containing the central space red. If at the time of the abduction, there is cracking of the gray part, the task will be considered as non-completed. The robot can perform the number of cuts that he needed to succeed its tasks.

At right, the Atlas-Ian originates in the Florida Institute for Human and Machine cognition (IHMC), measure 6 feet 2 inches and has a weight of 330 pounds. With its 20 points earned during the tests, it is démarqua by offering the best performance of the race of 25 meters on piles of bricks, even with a time of nearly 30 minutes. The team IHMC Robotics comes from the track B, specialized in software based on the manipulation and the programming. On the photo, we see proceed to the cutting of a triangle in the wall.

The closure of the three industrial valves is the seventh great test. The valves control the entry of air in the pumps, what show indicators that are linked to it. For each of the sub-tasks, success requires to turn the valve until the entry of air to cease. The closure order has no importance.

A first valve will be a lever for 13-inch placed at 90 degrees to the vertical, which will require the robot to make a rotation of the handle 90 degrees for the close, that is to say bring back up to the horizontal. A second valve will be a wheel of medium-diameter that it will close by making a full turn in a clockwise direction. The last valve will be also a wheel but greater and it will proceed in the same way as the previous one for the close.

The initial position of the two wheels requires to close in first and then open with a revolution.

At left, the team CRB-Hubo (below) is a grouping of several universities, including Drexel University and KAIST's HuboLab (and its popular Rainbow Co., which markets its robotic technologies). Rather this year, the team has launched a Computer Animation featuring their robot Hubo responding to a disaster situation in 2020. This week, the researchers of the HuboLab have published the first videos showing their robot in action in the activities of the DRC.

The test of the fire hose is the eighth and last task of the tests of the DRC. For the first sub-task, the robot starts completely behind the Green Line, traverse up to the wheel, grabs the end of the pipe and the place. This test will be completed only when the end of the pipe will cross the yellow line.

For the second sub-task, the robot must bring the end until the Y and, when there will be a direct contact, the test will be completed. For the last sub-task, it must Screw the end to the Y. This implies that a hand holds the pipe in place and the other hand screwed the neck on the Y. The test will be considered complete when the end of the pipe will hold only one on the Y without the help of the robot, which implies at least one rotation.

If there is no intervention of the teams during the execution of a task, they deserve an additional point for the task, for a potential of eight point. However, the worst score possible in the accomplishment of the tasks is zero; the best, 32 points.

The RoboSimian team (14 points), the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has built the robot RoboSimian*.

The Tartan Team RESCUE (18 points) and their robot chimp, comes from Carnergie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center. CHIMP has had 3 Perfect Results: Cut a triangle in a wall, move the pieces of wood and close a series of industrial valves. This performance demonstrates that this robot of 5 feet 2 inches for 400 books is very strong in manual tasks. Since that the tartan rescue team comes from the track has, the DARPA had offered them $3 million US for the design of their robot and their software system.

The Big Winner : The robot S-one of the team SCHAFT!

The best team, schaft, has received a price of $2 million US, that it has decided to submit to DARPA for the inclusion of more of teams in the Challenge DRC

Nine teams have been selected to receive the financial support of the DARPA and to participate in the Finals 2015. These teams are: IHMC Robotics (Atlas-Ian); MIT (Helios); Robosimian (Robosimian); tartan Rescue (chimp); Team TRACLabs (Hercules); Team Trooper (Atlas); Team Valor (Thor); Team ViGIR (Florian) and the QPI Robotics Engineering Csquad (Warner).

DARPA Robotics Challenge-SCHAFT S-ONE/ "Debris" Trial

Credit: strvstudio

Twenty-six teams coming from 8 countries have qualified for the Challenge ENC, which took place from 17 to 21 June 2013. The DARPA has initially allocated resources fiancières hardware and for the 6 best teams but, by the initiative of some participant(e)s, 9 teams have been able to benefit.

In order, there is the team IHMC of the Institute for Human and Machine cognition, Pensacola, Florida - 52 points; WPI Robotics Engineering C Squad (WRECS), Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachussett - 39 points; MIT, Massachussett Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachussett - 34 points; Team TRACLabs Inc., Webster, Texas - 30 points; JPL/UCSB/Caltech, Jet Propulsion Labotary, Pasadena, California - 29 points; TORC, TORC/TU Darmstadt/Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virignia - 27 points; Team K, Japan - 25 points; trooper, Lockheed Martin/University of Pennsylvania/Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cherry Hill, New Jersey - 24 points and, finally, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio - 23 points.

The first 6 teams are deserved of funds and a robot atlas of DARPA in view of tests of December 2013, Florida. This challenge was the second of the 3 events of DARPA Robotics Challenge and the first physical test, that is to say putting in stage real robots.

As already mentioned, the first test to appear on the screen is to drive a vehicle. For this task, 5 different scenarios have been developed and for each of them, a maximum time of 30 minutes is allocated for its realization. Beginning at 8h00 AM local time, the team will finish in 10 hours, either at 18h00 PM.

For the first test, the robot begins by positioning themselves in the paddock of departure, then walk up to the vehicle, go inside and sits down. it then the duct on the road by avoiding cones, until the last barrier. Once crossed, it comes out of the vehicle and walk under a second barrier on a land off-road.

The next morning, always at the same time, the robot will have to walk on different types of terrain. Again, 5 scenarios have been developed. It must first Walk on 16 m of paving stones, and then on a range of mud of 11.5 m, bumpy terrain of 17.5 m and it will end up on a soil of 11.5 m covered with debris .

On the last day of the competition, the test of the connection of a Dare to fire, always offered with 5 scenarios, will be complete in 10 hours. This test is broken down into 4 sub-tasks: to lift the Dare, the couple to the mouth of fire, the CONNECT making 2 revolutions and half and, open the valve by performing a full turn of 360 degrees.

In all, each team will have completed each test with 5 different configurations, for a total of 15 operations in 3 days. As the order of appearance is determined by the DARPA, teams do not choose None. As it is a challenge, at any time, the competition will cease for a team on the maximum time allowed is exceeded or after 3 Faults causing damage to the environment.

In the VRC, the first task of the robot is to walk up to a utility vehicle, fit and the lead through obstacles. Then, it must get out of the vehicle and walk toward a control point.

A rare view of the virtual robot Atlas preparing to lead the utility vehicle. During the VRC, teams may not see the race that from the point-of-view of the sensors of the robot.

For the second task, the teams will have to guide their robot through a series of land covered by examples, mud, paving stones, debris or yet completely elevation.

For the third task, the robot must take a fire hose, connect it to the mouth and turn the valve.

Darpa robotics challenge 2015 Finals DRC Hubo 휴보 2 [ Team Kaist ] - 8 Tasks - perfect clear- Record - 44:28 - 8/8 Point Winner : Team Kaist. Credit: HuboLab KAIST

Credit: George Stanley


To make eligible to physical competition of the DARPA robotics challenge, testing of December 2013, the parties concerned must demonstrate their capabilities in a virtual test. The kick off of this virtual Robotics Challenge began when the military research agency granted a contract to the Open Source Robotics Foundation in Menlo Park, California, for it develops a simulation system for a virtual robot. And for that the teams have equal chances to win, there intégra a software to the algorithms of databases that the platform was open, allowing competitors to add their own codes.

As mentioned Gill Pratt, the Director of the program DRC for the DARPA, "One of the goal of the Agency for the challenge is to catalyze the robotic development through different fields of expertise, which will result in greater opportunities, robots less expensive and more manoeuvrable. The base value of the Simulator is that it gives to the talents of all sources a common space to train, conceptualize, test and collaborate on ideas without invest colossal sums of money in the development of robotic structures. This opens Laporte to innovation."

Thus, from ofthe platform open, the teams add their algorithms keeping in mind that the robot must complete a series of tasks pre-required for more complex actions. For this purpose, the leaders of the DARPA, advised by first responders and other experts, have established a few that would have been useful during the first days of the disaster in Fukushima, in Japan.

In emergency situations, the robots must in particular to explore, interact with the environment, use tools or move debris, maintain their balance and communicate with the operators. In addition to showing the physical behavior and sensitive to a robot of type Atlas in a space in 3D, the Simulator allows teams to send commands and to receive the data via a network Internet manage by DARPA.

Obviously, as the infrastructures are often destroyed during disasters, the quality of communications has been regulated in order to fluctuate regularly. However, to simulate a link unstable, the ENC imposes a waiting period of 500 milliseconds on the transmitted data and varies the number of bits of communication available for each task, from a peak of 900 at 60 megabits.

A video game which is not !

Two days before the start of the competitions occurring between 17 and 28 June 2013, participants had access to their games console. During this period, they must be available to the officials of the DARPA. To measure the performance of the teams, it was with their work environment of four computers: one with the Simulator, two effective the code fields in the clouds and a Regularizing the communication.

For the virtual Challenge, the two computers in the clouds are used as substitutes for the one who will be connected to the Robot Atlas during the tests DRC. The first is coded to the perception, the planning and control. As to the second, it is used for communication with the robot. Before the beginning of the Virtual Challenge, the teams enter their lines of codes, algorithms or software systems in the two computers in clouds.

The three tests are launched of the interface of the CloudSim web. When begins the first test, the latter sends a message to the operators a minute or two that the robot is present in the enclosure of departure.

An overview of the traverses

One sees the road route as if we were the robot Atlas

At this time, a first scenario driving a vehicle utility appears on the screen. The team to a maximum time of 30 minutes to complete the test. To drive the vehicle, the operators Click on a button capture on their console, launching as well the simulation in the Simulator with the appropriate configuration.

The team or the individual will try to complete the test in making Teleoperations and manoeivres of autonomy by combining the resources of the computer from the unit to the control of operations or of the two computers in clouds. Once complete, the result display is temporary because it will be amended periodically during the execution of each task.

The vehicle is placed in the center of the road, a position which varies from one scenario to the other

The arrival is visible by the barriers of colors erected at the top and to the right of the image