Machines Compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge

Posted by David Konow

It was fun to see video games actually being treated like a sport with the League of Legends tournament, and now there’s what’s being called the “Killer Robot” Olympics. Sounds like something out of Westworld, so we were curious to find out more. 

The Daily Beast has reported there was an event called the DARPA Robotics Challenge, where the latest robots and humanoids compete against each other in Miami. DARPA, by the way, is the research division of the U.S. Defense Department. 
 

 
As the Beast explains, this is a competition for “the world’s most advanced robots,” and one of the top robots competing was “Valkyrie,” which was developed in NASA’s Johnson Space Center. 
 
While others have expressed fear that machines like this could one day take over (the term “killer robots” was thrown around a bit), as Christopher Dickey writes, “The inescapable reality is that some machines will save lives and some will take lives [in the future], and they’ll be programmed to make the relatively simple but critical decisions that determine who survives and who dies.”
 
 
As Dickey continues, there will be drones of course, weapons on ships, and more human models like Valkyrie. He also reminds us about the claim from Amazon that they could be using drones for deliveries, and that Google are currently buying up robotic labs. 
 
Meanwhile, getting back to the competition, Gizmodo tells us that Team SCHAFT, a group of Japanese robotics experts, won the Robotics Challenge, and it won in categories such as IHMC Robotics, Tartan Rescue, MIT and Robosimian. What, no swimsuit competition?