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Swiss team pits its strength against DARPA robotics competition

Eleven international teams competed against each other for the first time in the DARPA Robotic Challenge in summer 2019. Their robots duelled their skills in mapping tunnels and recognising artefacts. A Swiss team represented by the ETH Zurich and an SME, with a walking robot from armasuisse, were present.

10.12.2019 | Dr. Markus Höpflinger

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armasuisse provides a walking robot for the competition as well as an underground facility for testing the robots.

With the current Robotics Challenge of the U.S. Department of Defense’s research agency DARPA, the limits of robotics are once again set to be explored and expanded. In contrast to previous competitions (DARPA "Urban Challenge" and "Grand Challenge"), the "Subterranean Challenge" deals with navigation in underground environments; in tunnels, caverns and caves. In August 2019, 11 international teams competed against each other for the first time to measure the capabilities of their robots in tunnel cartography and automatic artefact detection.

Switzerland is part of a US-CH consortium which investigates and demonstrates the joint use of unmanned wheeled vehicles, walking robots and small aircraft. The Swiss team, represented by the ETH Zurich and an SME, is supported by the Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre (SDRZ VBS) of armasuisse S+T: armasuisse provides a walking robot for the competition as well as an underground facility for testing the robots. This gives the consortium the opportunity to prepare itself optimally in Switzerland for the next of a total of four competitions.