DARPA to announce new Grand Challenge for humanoid robot

April 6, 2012

PETMAN (credit: Boston Dynamics)

DARPA is planning to announce a new Grand Challenge for a teleoperated humanoid robot that can be used in rough terrain and industrial disasters, according to an unofficial statement by Dr. Gill Pratt of DARPA at a conference, Hizook Robotics News reports, quoting a conference attendee.

The challenge is built around an industrial disaster response.

The robot will be required to maneuver into and drive an open-frame vehicle, proceed to a building and dismount, ingress through a locked door using a key, traverse a 100-meter rubble-strewn hallway, climb a ladder, locate a leaking pipe and seal it by closing off a nearby valve, and then replace a faulty pump to resume normal operations — all semi-autonomously with just “supervisory teleoperation.”

The BAA (Broad Agency Announcement) will be released within a week or two, and DAPRA will fund six hardware teams and twelve software teams, says Hizook.

“The common platform will almost certainly be some variant of [Boston Dynamics'] PETMAN,” Hizook suggests.