This year‘s DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), held in Pomona, California, last weekend brought together 23 teams from the US, South Korea, Italy, Japan, Germany and China who each had to complete an obstacle course simulating conditions similar to those following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan.
The teams had been developing their robots for more than two years and have tried the challenges before. This time, however, they had to complete all eight natural disaster-related tasks – such as driving a car, walking through rubble, tripping circuit breakers, climbing stairs and turning valves – in just under an hour, whereas before they were given 30 minutes for each.
Among the tasks was the ‘plug challenge’, and for robots it is still much more difficult than it sounds. How this task was completed by the winner Team KAIST robot you can see in the video below: