Google’s Schaft humanoid robot wins DARPA Robotics Challenge

The latest round of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, in which 16 teams’ robots competed in eight physical tasks related to real-life disaster response operations, has been completed. Google’s Schaft Robot won the competition handily, having scored 27 points overall.

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Last month we reported on the next round of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), in which 16 teams’ robots would compete in eight physical tasks related to real-life disaster response operations. The teams finishing in the top 8 overall would continue to receive funding to support participating in the final event challenge, which will take place in December 2014 and features a top prize of $2 million. Now, following the completion of the event, the results are in.

The Track A Schaft Robot, which stands almost 5’ tall (1.48 m) and weighs 209 lb (95 kg), dominated the competition, having scored 27 total points, 7 more than the second place finisher. Schaft was one of the companies that were recently acquired by Google in its recent round of robotics company acquisitions. Schaft’s robot is based on the HRP-2 robot with hardware and software modifications, including more powerful actuator systems, a walking/stabilization system, and a capacitor that replaces a battery, according to Gizmag.

Schaft was part of Track A, which included teams that received funding for hardware and software, whereas Track B teams received funding for software and were supplied with a Boston Dynamics (also recently acquired by Google) Atlas robot for the competition. Track C teams were "free agents" who later received software funding and an Atlas robot, and Track D teams were entries that received no funding.

Teams from all four tracks competed in a series of eight individual tasks in which the robots were tested for mobility, manipulation, dexterity, perception, and operator control mechanism. Each set of challenges was worth a total of three points.

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