DARPA Wants Robotics to Rise to the Challenge of Disasters

DARPA Wants Robotics to Rise to the Challenge of Disasters

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The DARPA Robotics Challenge kicked into high gear this week as the organization announced the top teams competing to create robots that can prevent the compounding of human peril in man-made and natural disasters. Spurred by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in which the “Fukushima 50” ventured into a nightmare scenario to prevent a nuclear meltdown, DARPA is seeking robotic substitutes so that one individual’s life is not weighed against dozens or more of others.’

Dr. Gill Pratt, the program manager for the challenge, noted that the program’s focus on humanitarian assistance in disaster response is aligned with one of the 10 primary missions of the U.S. Department of Defense that was laid out by the White House and the Secretary of Defense in January 2012. But Pratt called attention to another reason why DARPA chose the subject of this challenge: “[W]e believe that this is very inspirational for participants because it’s a universally understood and appreciated mission.”

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