NASA Robots Compete in DARPA’s Subterranean Challenge Final

Led by JPL, which Caltech manages for NASA, Team CoSTAR will participate in the SubT final this week to demonstrate multi-robot autonomy in a series of tests in extreme environments.

Eight teams featuring dozens of robots from more than 30 institutions, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, will converge in a former Kentucky limestone mine from Sept. 21 to 24 to participate in a series of complex underground scenarios. The goal: to demonstrate cutting-edge robotic autonomy capabilities and compete for the chance to win $2 million.

Sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the event marks the final contest in the Subterranean, or SubT, Challenge, which began three years ago, attracting engineers from around the world. The challenge is aimed at developing autonomous robotic solutions for first responders in underground environments where GPS and direct communications are unavailable.

But the technologies developed for the SubT Challenge and extreme-environment exploration on Earth also have direct applications for space exploration. The JPL-led Team CoSTAR (Collaborative SubTerranean Autonomous Robots) will demonstrate their collection of driving, walking, and flying robots that could one day be used to explore extreme terrains on the surface as well as inside the caves and lava tubes on other worlds without human assistance.

“The final contest will be particularly challenging, since we must use wheeled, legged, and flying robots to access all of the complex spaces that DARPA will build into the competition. I am excited to see how our very diverse robot team will perform,” said Joel Burdick, Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering; JPL research scientist. Burdick leads the Caltech campus section of Team CoSTAR.

Read the full story at JPL News.

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Author: Shirley