Complex underground settings present significant challenges for military and civilian first responders. The hazards vary drastically across domains that can degrade or change over time and are often too high-risk for personnel to enter.
The DARPA Subterranean or “SubT” Challenge seeks novel approaches to rapidly map, navigate, and search underground environments during time-sensitive combat operations or disaster response scenarios.
DARPA encourages participation from multidisciplinary teams from around the world to address the autonomy, perception, networking and mobility technologies necessary to map subsurface networks in unpredictable conditions. To attract a broader range of participants, the SubT Challenge includes both a physical Systems competition, as well as a software-only Virtual competition.
Teams can compete in one or both of two complementary research tracks: the Systems track, and/or the Virtual track.
Systems track – Teams will develop and demonstrate physical systems to compete in live competitions on physical, representative subterranean courses, and focus on advancing and evaluating novel physical solutions in realistic field environments.
Virtual track – Teams will develop software and algorithms using virtual models of systems, environments, and terrain to compete in simulation-based events, and explore larger-scale runs in simulated environments that explore significantly expanded scenario sizes and durations.
The winner of the Systems track will take home a $2 million prize, while the winner of the Virtual track will earn a $750,000 prize.