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DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials: Day 2 and The Future

The DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials ended on Saturday night, and we're heading home from Florida today. If you haven't been following the event, you can watch recordings of most challenges here, and below is DARPA's Day 2 wrap video: 

We're going to have some detailed follow-ups on some DRC specifics over the next few weeks, but for now, we'll leave you with our thoughts from Day 2 of the competition, as well as some comments from DARPA about what we have to look forward to at the DRC Finals next year.

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Video Friday: Meet the DARPA Robotics Challenge Teams

UPDATED 12/21/13: DARPA posted more team profile videos, and we've included them below.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials officially kicked off this morning, and you can actually watch some of the action in real time directly from the Homestead Miami Speedway, thanks to DARPA's live feeds. (Don't be disappointed if nothing much is happening when you tune in; that's how it's supposed to be, so be patient and soon you'll see robots doing things, or at least trying to do things.) DARPA has also been posting video profiles of the DRC teams, and that's what we'll bring you today in this special edition of Video Friday. And keep checking back for our continuing coverage of the DRC Trials!

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Video: Watch the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials

UPDATE 12/21/13 Saturday 7:44 pm ET: The DRC Trials have ended (check out the final results!). The Day 1 and Day 2 feeds we posted below are now archived recordings of the events.)

We're at the DARPA Robotics Challenge all day today and tomorrow. It's going to be craaazy, and with so many events going on all at once, there's no way we're going to be able to bring you everything in real time. Fortunately, DARPA has a bunch of camera crews who will be live streaming almost all events, so just start playing the videos below to tune right in.

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DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials: What You Should (and Shouldn't) Expect to See

We're super excited for the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials that run tomorrow and Saturday, and we hope you are too. Before we get all wrapped up in it, though, it's important to understand what's realistic to expect from the robots during the competition, to prevent yourself from (let's be honest here) experiencing some level of (potentially profound) disappointment.

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For the First Time in 40 Years, a Robot Is Wandering the Moon

The last rover to be operational on the Moon was the Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2, in January of 1973. Since then, we humans have focused most of our robotic exploration efforts on more, well, exotic locations, like Venus and Mars. This should by no means be taken to imply that we know everything there is to know about the Moon, or that it's all boring and no fun up there. Realistically, it could be the closest spot for long-term habitation, but we still have a lot more to learn, so it's about time that we went back there to do some exploring. And the "we," in this case, is China.

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IEEE Spectrum's award-winning robotics blog, featuring news, articles, and videos on robots, humanoids, automation, artificial intelligence, and more.
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Erico Guizzo
New York, N.Y.
Senior Writer
Evan Ackerman
Berkeley, Calif.
Jason Falconer
Angelica Lim
Tokyo, Japan

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