It may be time to stop worrying about the robot uprising and begin thinking how we can prepare robot rescue teams for the next earthquake, tsunami or nuclear disaster.
Last week, 24 robots — programmed and built by teams from around the world — gathered in Pomona, California, to accept a challenge from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The quest: Could each of these semi-autonomous robots complete eight tasks in a simulated disaster environment (a nuclear accident) in under an hour?
Teams have been getting ready for the DARPA Robotics Challenge for years, competing in trials, retrofitting robots and building their own simulated tasks to try and prepare for a competition where many of the tasks were only loosely sketched out.
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