DARPA Lays Down New Robotics Gauntlet

This fall, the Pentagon’s top science and research organization officially launches the DARPA Robotics Challenge. The goal, according to DARPA’s broad agency announcement posted on FedBizOps, is “to develop ground robotic capabilities to execute tasks in dangerous, degraded, human engineered environments.”…
This isn’t the first time that DARPA has used a prize challenge to encourage scientific innovation and development. In 2004, the DARPA Grand Challenge asked researchers to develop autonomous vehicles capable of traversing mountainous and desert terrain; a successful team from Stanford University took the $2 million prize. In 2007, a combined team from Carnegie Mellon University and a private firm, Tartan Robotics, earned $2 million in the DARPA Urban Challenge, in which competitors had to successfully navigate a simulated urban traffic environment.