Yesterday afternoon, DARPA held a briefing to discuss the forthcoming DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals. Each team will get two chances to complete the course, and DARPA will score the best run. DARPA is expecting about 24 teams, but they’re prepared to accommodate more. TASKS The specific DRC Final tasks have not yet been decided on; DARPA is getting advice from teams and partners on what they should be. One of the eight tasks will be a surprise, and teams won’t know anything about it until they show up at the finals.
DARPA is going to make sure of this through aggressive time limits and poor communications, which will make it necessary to allow the robots to operate to some extent autonomously: any team that waits for good communications to execute tasks based on low-level planning will rapidly run out of time.
DARPA thinks that cloud robotics is going to be big, and they’re making it a significant component of the DRC. The context of cloud robotics is going to be much different in the DRC than it is in most commercial applications, and DARPA sees that as a benefit, since it’ll encourage things like figuring out how to make cloud robotics work in environments where connectivity is intermittent.