South Korean team wins DARPA Robotics Challenge

After three years of development and testing, South Korea's Team Kaist and its robot DRC-Hubo took first place and $2million in prize money after winning the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) in Pomona, California.

Launched in response to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan, in 2011, the DRC consisted of three competitions over two years. The goal was to accelerate progress in robotics and hasten the day when robots have sufficient dexterity and robustness to enter areas too dangerous for humans and mitigate the impacts of natural or man-made disasters.

The DRC challenged 23 teams and their robots, from around the world, to complete a course of eight tasks relevant to disaster response, among them driving alone, walking through rubble, turning valves and climbing stairs. Team Kaist completed the course in less than 45 minutes.

Team IHMC Robotics from Florida, with its robot, Running Man, came in second, winning $1m and Pittsburgh's Tartan Rescue team finished third with its robot CHIMP, winning $500,000.

"This is the end of the DRC but only the beginning of a future in which robots can work alongside people to reduce the toll of disasters," said DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar. "I am so proud of all the teams that participated and know that the community that the DRC has helped to catalyse will do great things in the years ahead."