U.S. college team places in national robotics competition

The Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s humanoid robot placed seventh at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge Trials in Homestead, Fla.

12/26/2013


The Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) Atlas Robot for Nonconventional Emergency Response (WARNER) competed against 16 robotics teams from around the world. The robotics challenge was inspired by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in March 2011, which created an environment that was too hazardous for people to enter. As a response to that event, each team in the competition developed humanoid robots that could help respond to man-made and natural disasters.

Courtesy of Andrew BaronThe robots were charged with completing eight specific autonomous and semi-autonomous tasks ranging from clearing debris to climbing a ladder. Teams were awarded a maximum of four points for each task for a total potential of 32 points. The institute's team earned 11 points.

WARNER, which stood at 6 ft 2 in. and weighed 330 lb, drove a Polaris Ranger XP 900 the distance of 250 ft in 6 minutes—faster than any other team. As a result, the institute's team received the “Best in Task Vehicle Award” during the awards ceremony following the event.

“The driving task was one of the most demanding from a testing standpoint, and our team really did an outstanding job,” said Matt DeDonato, the team leader. “We couldn’t be happier for the effort the team put forth on that task and throughout the competition.”

DeDonato attributed the driving to strong testing and simulation during the earlier Virtual Robotics Challenge. The driving task was considered key as first responders need to program robots to first get to a disaster scene before they embark on other tasks.

Gill Pratt, a Dynamics Research Corporation program manager, said the government will now enter into contract negotiations with the top eight teams to fund them for next year's DARPA Robotics Finals in December 2014. “Assuming those contract negotiations are successful and funds are available, those would be the eight that move forward,” Pratt said.

In addition to the driving challenge, WARNER participated in two additional mobility tasks, earning two points for climbing a ladder and two points for traversing terrain covered with cinder blocks.

Finishing in first place, the Japan-based SCHAFT earned 27 points, followed by IHMC Robotics with 20 points, Tartan Rescue with 18 points, MIT with 16 points, RoboSimian with 14 points, and Team TRACLabs with 11 points. Although WPI tied with Team TRACLabs, the WPI squad finished one place after them because WARNER required more human interventions during the tasks.

- Edited by Jessica DuBois-Maahs, Associate Content Manager

See other Control Engineering robotics coverage.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Go deep: Automation tackles offshore oil challenges; Ethernet advice; Wireless robotics; Product exclusives; Digital edition exclusives
Lost in the gray scale? How to get effective HMIs; Best practices: Integrate old and new wireless systems; Smart software, networks; Service provider certifications
Fixing PID: Part 2: Tweaking controller strategy; Machine safety networks; Salary survey and career advice; Smart I/O architecture; Product exclusives
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Look at the basics of industrial wireless technologies, wireless concepts, wireless standards, and wireless best practices with Daniel E. Capano of Diversified Technical Services Inc.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.