Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

DARPA to Issue New Grand Challenge

April 9th, 2012 / in big science, research horizons, Research News / by Erwin Gianchandani

PETMAN, an anthropomorphic robot for testing chemical protection clothing, developed by Boston Dynamics [image courtesy Boston Dynamics].Word surfaced last week of a new Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge, expected to be issued shortly. First reported by Hizook and later confirmed by Wired, the new Grand Challenge calls for “a humanoid robot (with a bias toward bipedal designs) that can be used in rough terrain and for industrial disasters.” According to the Wired report:

Brace yourself, because that era might be here sooner than you think: The Pentagon agency behind some of the most important robotics research will soon challenge experts worldwide to come up with humanoid robots that can navigate their environment and handle tools with near-Homo sapiens skill.


Within the next few weeks, DARPA, the Pentagon’s far-out research arm, is expected to launch its contest, which will likely ask roboteers to build a bipedal robot that can do things like drive cars, open doors, traverse rough terrain and show off its fine motor skills, perhaps by repairing busted pipes.

According to Kent Massey, director of advanced programs at HDT Global and an attendee at a recent Department of Defense conference at which details of the new challenge were unveiled, “The goal of this Grand Challenge is to create a humanoid robot that can operate in an environment built for people and use tools made for people. The specific challenge is built around an industrial disaster response.”

The humanoid robot Challenge would follow three previous DARPA Grand Challenges focused on autonomous vehicles.

To learn more, check out the Hizook and Wired reports. And stay tuned — we’ll of course let you know as soon as DARPA makes things official.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)

DARPA to Issue New Grand Challenge