Six nations recently clashed in a robotics competition organized by Darpa. Once was not custom, it was not a question of developing robots with military vocation, but systems made it possible to help the helps and to assist the victims in the event of disaster.
The initiative started from the feeling of helplessness of the emergency services during the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.
Each robot therefore had to be designed to intervene where humans cannot venture, due to the difficulties on the ground or various risks. The final pitted 24 robots in human form created by teams from the USA, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy and Hong Kong.
To assess the capabilities of robots: obstacle courses and various missions, such as closing or opening a valve, opening a door, destroying a wall, climbing debris, climbing stairs …
Faced with disasters like that of Fukushima and despite the certainty of the designers to have robots perfectly adapted to this type of disaster, the various platforms sent to observe the hearts of the two reactors have been shown to be totally ineffective. It therefore becomes important to develop more suitable solutions capable of dealing with any eventuality.
Finally, the KAIST team (South Korea) won the competition with its robot called DRC-HUBO, a humanoid equipped with wheels at knee level. The team pocketed $ 2 million and its robot should continue its development to lead to the creation of an advanced assistance device.