U.S. college team places in national robotics competition

The Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s humanoid robot placed seventh at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge Trials in Homestead, Fla.

12/26/2013


The Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) Atlas Robot for Nonconventional Emergency Response (WARNER) competed against 16 robotics teams from around the world. The robotics challenge was inspired by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in March 2011, which created an environment that was too hazardous for people to enter. As a response to that event, each team in the competition developed humanoid robots that could help respond to man-made and natural disasters.

Courtesy of Andrew BaronThe robots were charged with completing eight specific autonomous and semi-autonomous tasks ranging from clearing debris to climbing a ladder. Teams were awarded a maximum of four points for each task for a total potential of 32 points. The institute's team earned 11 points.

WARNER, which stood at 6 ft 2 in. and weighed 330 lb, drove a Polaris Ranger XP 900 the distance of 250 ft in 6 minutes—faster than any other team. As a result, the institute's team received the “Best in Task Vehicle Award” during the awards ceremony following the event.

“The driving task was one of the most demanding from a testing standpoint, and our team really did an outstanding job,” said Matt DeDonato, the team leader. “We couldn’t be happier for the effort the team put forth on that task and throughout the competition.”

DeDonato attributed the driving to strong testing and simulation during the earlier Virtual Robotics Challenge. The driving task was considered key as first responders need to program robots to first get to a disaster scene before they embark on other tasks.

Gill Pratt, a Dynamics Research Corporation program manager, said the government will now enter into contract negotiations with the top eight teams to fund them for next year's DARPA Robotics Finals in December 2014. “Assuming those contract negotiations are successful and funds are available, those would be the eight that move forward,” Pratt said.

In addition to the driving challenge, WARNER participated in two additional mobility tasks, earning two points for climbing a ladder and two points for traversing terrain covered with cinder blocks.

Finishing in first place, the Japan-based SCHAFT earned 27 points, followed by IHMC Robotics with 20 points, Tartan Rescue with 18 points, MIT with 16 points, RoboSimian with 14 points, and Team TRACLabs with 11 points. Although WPI tied with Team TRACLabs, the WPI squad finished one place after them because WARNER required more human interventions during the tasks.

- Edited by Jessica DuBois-Maahs, Associate Content Manager

See other Control Engineering robotics coverage.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
What controller fits your application; Permanent magnet motors; Chemical manufacturer tames alarm management; Taking steps in a new direction
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on preventing compressed air leaks and centrifugal air compressor basics and best practices for the "fifth utility" in manufacturing plants.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me