The next DARPA grand challenge

You have probably heard of the DARPA Grand Challenge - competition for teams to build fully autonomous vehicle/robots that can go long distance in tough terrains. The last one was held in 2007, won by the team from CMU.

Rumours have it that the next one will be unveiled soon: Humanoid robots.

Would you be interested?

It should be noted that they don’t necessarily care if it’s bi-pedal or looks like a humanoid. So long as it does these tasks, I’m pretty sure they’d be happy:

Sounds like fun.

I’m happy to see Darpa is going back to public competitions.

I felt the Darpa Urban Challenge was a huge success after participating at the event in Victorville, CA.

I would be happy to see the Robonaut group at JSC jump in the mix on this ! I think they have a great group of engineers that could tackle these problems.

Now this is interesting. Today the official details of the challenge were released. As part of the challenge, competitors will be supplied with a GFE (Government-Furnished Equipment) robot simulator.

Looks like someone at DARPA is a fan of FIRST!

The DARPA robot simulator will be the Open Source Robotics Foundation simulator, called Gazebo.

DARPA announced a Sole Source notice last week.

Of the few existing candidate open-source robot simulators, the Open Source Robotics Foundation was deemed to be the sole viable supplier for providing the necessary open-source simulation software within the specified timeframe. The Open Source Robotics Foundation simulator, called Gazebo, simulates many robots and sensors, supports the ROS and Player robot control middleware, and maintains tutorials, documentation and an active user base. The technology underlying Gazebo supports many use cases including remote operation through a client-server architecture, customization via a flexible plugin interface, accurate physics simulation, and rapid setup through intuitive graphical and programmatic interfaces.

Le bump:
With the kick off having happened on October 24th, I was wondering who else is following the competition and if anybody knows anyone on a team right now. Sounds like a pretty interesting competition for alumni and others alike.

Seven teams have entered. Including the big guns from JPL, U Penn, CMU. Super hard problem to solve. Teleop approach with some autonomous operations.