US Military shows off robot prototype

Andrew Duffy, ninemsn
3:46pm October 26, 2012
October 26, 2012: Pet-Proto is the US Military’s latest attempt at developing a robot capable of completing human tasks.

Footage of a robot successfully jumping walls and balancing around obstacles has been released by the US Military as part of the lead-up to its robotics competition.

The video, from the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), shows a robot prototype called Pet-Proto successfully navigating a course that even some humans would have trouble with.

The machine is part of the military's attempt at designing a robot capable of human tasks such as climbing a ladder or navigating over rubble.

The ultimate goal of the project is to design robots that could someday aid in disaster response.

DARPA said the robot in the video was able to use "autonomous decision-making" to help navigate obstacles, and it is hoping participants in the upcoming robotics challenge will be able to develop similar machines.

DARPA said it is also looking for contestants to develop robots capable of handling "standard tools and equipment commonly available in human environments".

Teams will compete for a $2 million prize and access to a modified version of DARPA's Atlas robot, a successor to the Pet-Proto machine shown in the video above.

Results from the competition will be long way from making their way to the public, with some machines expected to be shown off by the end of 2013.

Source: Wired, TechHive
Author: Andrew Duffy. Approving editor: Nick Pearson

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