DARPA Virtual Robotic Challenge (VRC) tasks included guiding the robot over different terrain, including uneven ground
RoboSimian, a disaster-relief robot designed to compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge, is under construction at JPL. Credit: JPL-Caltech.
› Full image and caption

RoboSimian, an ape-like disaster-recovery robot designed and built at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has passed a critical design review.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected RoboSimian to advance in competition to the agency's Robotics Trials to be held at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida in December.

A full list of teams progressing to the DARPA Robotics Trials is online at: http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2013/07/11.aspx .

See RoboSimian and its robotic competitors in action in this DARPA video: http://youtu.be/hpeZGCzUmNY .


Updated: June 27, 2013

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected a group from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., as one of the teams entitled to move forward from the Virtual Robotics Challenge, the first event of the DARPA Robotics Challenge.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge seeks to spur development of advanced robots to assist humans in mitigating and recovering from natural and man-made disasters. The Virtual Robotics Challenge was a software competition carried out in a simulated environment that looked like an obstacle course set in a suburban area.

Twenty-six teams from eight countries qualified to compete in the virtual challenge, which ran from June 17-21, 2013. The teams applied software of their own design to a simulated robot to complete a series of tasks, such as driving a vehicle, walking over uneven ground and using tools.

The top teams, including JPL, were entitled to funding and an ATLAS robot from DARPA to compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials in December 2013 (The agency is also funding several other teams, including JPL, to construct their own robot and compete in the Trials). The Trials are the second of three DARPA Robotics Challenge events, and the first physical competition.

JPL decided to merge its two efforts and offer the bulk of the resources it earned in the Virtual Robotics Challenge to other teams. This good sportsmanship allows members of the top nine teams to move forward, instead of the six for which DARPA had originally allocated resources.

For details and a full list of Virtual Robotics Challenge teams selected to move forward, please visit: http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2013/06/27.aspx .

The California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages JPL for NASA. For more information about robotics at JPL, including involvement with the DARPA Robotics Challenge, see: http://www-robotics.jpl.nasa.gov/index.cfm .

News Media Contact

Stephanie L. Smith 818-393-5464
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.