Many humans don’t enjoy cleaning up disastrous messes—which is why DARPA wants robots designed to clean up for us.
The Defense Advanced Research and Planning Agency, or DARPA, has announced a robotics challenge with $2 million in prizes in the hopes that corporations and universities might produce the ultimate mechanized maid—one that can go where humans can’t to help clean up after a large-scale disaster.
Inspired by difficulties with man-made cleanup efforts in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan last year, the competition wants robot designs capable of specific tasks, including driving a vehicle to a simulated disaster site, moving across rubble, and finding and closing a valve on a leaking pipe.
The competitions for cash prizes are expected to be held in 2013 and 2015, and DARPA officials are encouraging international participation.
Video produced by Jim Festante.