We've seen countless videos of ATLAS and other advanced robots strutting their stuff, but now it's officially time for all of them to put their money where their mouths are (wait, do robots have mouths?) as the DARPA Robotics Challenge officially gets underway. And you can watch a live stream of the events as they unfold right here.
Just don't expect robots battling out to the death ala Real Steel. The tasks set before these bots is considerably tamer, but no less challenging. The organizers of the competition hope to push the capabilities of today's most advanced automatons to the limit, in order to advance the software and technologies that goes into these robots. And the various teams are hoping to claim the challenge's hefty $2 million bounty.
The robots will actually face eight different tasks that seem trivial to humans, but will pose a serious challenge to the competitors. These include driving an ATV-like vehicle through a twisty course, climbing an eight-foot tall ladder, opening a lever-handled door, navigating an obstacle course featuring ramps and loose footings, cutting a hole in a wall, spinning wheels to close three air valves, unreeling a hose and connecting its nozzle to a faucet, and finally clearing debris from a doorway. All of which should result in a wonderful blooper reel by the time the competition draws to a close. [DARPA Robotics Challenge via IEEE Spectrum]