Team KAIST Wins DARPA Robotics Challenge

It was a nail-biting final round as Team KAIST completed a perfect run with the fastest time, winning the $2 million grand prize

1 min read
Team KAIST Wins DARPA Robotics Challenge
Professor Jun Ho Oh and his team with DARPA program manager Gill Pratt.
Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum

It was a nail-biting final round as the top teams of the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals tried to catch up with Team KAIST, which earlier today had completed a perfect run, scoring the maximum 8 points in 44:28 minutes. Two teams also scored 8 points, but Team KAIST, from South Korea, had the best time, winning the top spot and the US $2 million grand prize.

KAIST’s robot, called DRC-HUBO, was a bipedal humanoid. But unlike other humanoids, such as the ATLAS robot used by several other teams, DRC-HUBO had modifications, including wheels on its knees, that allowed it to perform tasks faster and, perhaps more importantly, avoid falls. (Read our in-depth article on how DRC-HUBO helped Team KAIST take first place in the competition.)

imgThis robot won the DRC Finals 2015.Photo: Erico Guizzo/IEEE Spectrum

Team IHMC Robotics finished second, winning $1 million. Tartan Rescue came in third, and will take home $500,000. Both were among the favorite teams, based on their strong performances on Day 1 of the Finals.

The KAIST team is led by Jun Ho Oh, a professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, in Daejeon, South Korea, and one of the world’s top experts in humanoid robots. He and his team have been improving their robot HUBO over several generations.

The robot they built for the DRC Finals was specifically designed for the competition. We’re working on a post explaining the key features of the robot, and how they helped the South Korean team win the DRC Finals.

Congratulations to Team KAIST and all other teams!

P.S.: Below are the final scores for all teams:

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The Conversation (0)

How Robots Can Help Us Act and Feel Younger

Toyota’s Gill Pratt on enhancing independence in old age

10 min read
An illustration of a woman making a salad with robotic arms around her holding vegetables and other salad ingredients.
Dan Page
Blue

By 2050, the global population aged 65 or more will be nearly double what it is today. The number of people over the age of 80 will triple, approaching half a billion. Supporting an aging population is a worldwide concern, but this demographic shift is especially pronounced in Japan, where more than a third of Japanese will be 65 or older by midcentury.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which was established by Toyota Motor Corp. in 2015 to explore autonomous cars, robotics, and “human amplification technologies,” has also been focusing a significant portion of its research on ways to help older people maintain their health, happiness, and independence as long as possible. While an important goal in itself, improving self-sufficiency for the elderly also reduces the amount of support they need from society more broadly. And without technological help, sustaining this population in an effective and dignified manner will grow increasingly difficult—first in Japan, but globally soon after.

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