All posts by Evan Ackerman

Video Friday: Teleport Yourself Into This Robot Using VR

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-reachy-robot-telepresence-vr

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

HRI 2021 – March 8-11, 2021 – [Online]
RoboSoft 2021 – April 12-16, 2021 – [Online]

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.


Video Friday: These Robots Are Ready for 2021

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-robots-new-year

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

HRI 2021 – March 8-11, 2021 – [Online]
RoboSoft 2021 – April 12-16, 2021 – [Online]

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.

Is it too late to say, “Happy Holidays”? Yes! Is it too late for a post packed with holiday robot videos? Never!


How Boston Dynamics Taught Its Robots to Dance

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/humanoids/how-boston-dynamics-taught-its-robots-to-dance

A week ago, Boston Dynamics posted a video of Atlas, Spot, and Handle dancing to “Do You Love Me.” It was, according to the video description, a way “to celebrate the start of what we hope will be a happier year.” As of today the video has been viewed nearly 24 million times, and the popularity is no surprise, considering the compelling mix of technical prowess and creativity on display.

Strictly speaking, the stuff going on in the video isn’t groundbreaking, in the sense that we’re not seeing any of the robots demonstrate fundamentally new capabilities, but that shouldn’t take away from how impressive it is—you’re seeing state-of-the-art in humanoid robotics, quadrupedal robotics, and whatever-the-heck-Handle-is robotics.

What is unique about this video from Boston Dynamics is the artistic component. We know that Atlas can do some practical tasks, and we know it can do some gymnastics and some parkour, but dancing is certainly something new. To learn more about what it took to make these dancing robots happen (and it’s much more complicated than it might seem), we spoke with Aaron Saunders, Boston Dynamics’ VP of Engineering.

Robots Made of Ice Could Build and Repair Themselves on Other Planets

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/space-robots/robots-made-of-ice-could-build-and-repair-themselves-on-other-planets

No matter how much brilliant work the folks at NASA and JPL put into their planetary exploration robots (and it’s a lot of brilliant work), eventually, inevitably, they break down. It’s rare that these breakdowns are especially complicated, but since the robots aren’t designed for repair, there isn’t much that can be done. And even if (say) the Mars rovers did have the ability to swap their own wheels when they got worn out, where are you going to get new robot wheels on Mars, anyway?

And this is the bigger problem—finding the necessary resources to keep robots running in extreme environments. We’ve managed to solve the power problem pretty well, often leveraging solar power, because solar power is a resource that you can find almost anywhere. You can’t make wheels out of solar power, but you can make wheels, and other structural components, out of another material that can be found just lying around all over the place: ice.

This Year, Autonomous Trucks Will Take to the Road With No One on Board

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/transportation/self-driving/this-year-autonomous-trucks-will-take-to-the-road-with-no-one-on-board

Companies like Tesla, Uber, Cruise, and Waymo promise a future where cars are essentially mobile robots that can take us anywhere with a few taps on a smartphone. But a new category of vehicles is about to overtake self-driving cars in that leap into the future. Autonomous trucks have been quietly making just as much, if not more, progress toward commercial deployment, and their impact on the transportation of goods will no doubt be profound.

Among nearly a dozen companies developing autonomous trucking, San Diego–based TuSimple is trying to get ahead by combining unique technology with a series of strategic partnerships. Working with truck manufacturer Navistar as well as shipping giant UPS, TuSimple is already conducting test operations in Arizona and Texas, including depot-to-depot autonomous runs. These are being run under what’s known as “supervised autonomy,” in which somebody rides in the cab and is ready to take the wheel if needed. Sometime in 2021, the startup plans to begin doing away with human supervision, letting the trucks drive themselves from pickup to delivery without anybody on board.

Both autonomous cars and autonomous trucks rely on similar underlying technology: Sensors—typically cameras, lidars, and radars—feed data to a computer, which in turn controls the vehicle using skills learned through a massive amount of training and simulation. In principle, developing an autonomous truck can be somewhat easier than developing an autonomous car. That’s because unlike passenger vehicles, trucks—in particular long-haul tractor-trailers—generally follow fixed routes and spend most of their time on highways that are more predictable and easier to navigate than surface streets. Trucks are also a better platform for autonomy, with their large size providing more power for computers and an improved field of view for sensors, which can be mounted higher off the ground.

TuSimple claims that its approach is unique because its equipment is purpose built from the ground up for trucks. “Most of the other companies in this space got the seeds of their ideas from the DARPA Grand and Urban Challenges for autonomous vehicles,” says Chuck Price, chief product officer at TuSimple. “But the dynamics and functional behaviors of trucks are very different.”

The biggest difference is that trucks need to be able to sense conditions farther in advance, to allow for their longer stopping distance. The 200-meter practical range of lidar that most autonomous cars use as their primary sensor is simply not good enough for a fully loaded truck traveling at 120 kilometers per hour. Instead, TuSimple relies on multiple HD cameras that are looking up to 1,000 meters ahead whenever possible. The system detects other vehicles and calculates their trajectories at that distance, which Price says is approximately twice as far out as professional truck drivers look while driving.

Price argues that this capability gives TuSimple’s system more time to make decisions about the safest and most efficient way to drive. Indeed, its trucks use their brakes less often than trucks operated by human drivers, leading to improvements in fuel economy of about 10 percent. Steadier driving, with less side-to-side movement in a lane, brings additional efficiency gains while also minimizing tire wear. Price adds that autonomous trucks could also help address a shortage of truck drivers, which is expected to grow at an alarming rate.

TuSimple’s fleet of 40 autonomous trucks has been hauling goods between freight depots in Phoenix, Tucson, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio. These routes are about 95 percent highway, but the trucks can also autonomously handle surface streets, bringing their cargo the entire distance, from depot driveway to depot driveway. Its vehicles join a growing fleet of robotic trucks from competitors such as Aurora, Embark, Locomation, Plus.ai, and even Waymo, the Alphabet spin-off that has long focused on self-driving cars.

“I think there’s a big wave coming in the logistics industry that’s not necessarily well appreciated,” says Tasha Keeney, an analyst at ARK Invest who specializes in autonomous technology. She explains that electrified autonomous trucks have the potential to reduce shipping expenses not only when compared with those of traditional trucking but also with those of rail, while offering the door-to-door service that rail cannot. “The relationships that TuSimple has made within the trucking industry are interesting—in the long term, vertically integrated, purpose-built vehicles will have a lot of advantages.”

By 2024,TuSimple plans to achieve Level 4 autonomy, meaning that its trucks will be able to operate without a human driver under limited conditions that may include time of day, weather, or premapped routes. At that point, TuSimple would start selling the trucks to fleet operators. Along the way, however, there are several other milestones the company must hit, beginning with its first “driver out” test in 2021, which Price describes as a critical real-world demonstration.

“This is no longer a science project,” he says. “It’s not research. It’s engineering. The driver-out demonstration is to prove to us, and to prove to the public, that it can be done.”

This article appears in the January 2021 print issue as “Robot Trucks Overtake Robot Cars.”

Revisiting 2020’s Most Popular Blog Posts

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/revisiting-2020s-most-popular-blog-posts

Spectrum first began publishing an online edition in 1996. And in the quarter century since, our website has tried to serve IEEE members as well as the larger worldwide base of tech-savvy readers across the Internet. In 2020, four of ­Spectrum’s top 10 blog posts were about COVID-19; another four were about robots. (One was about both.) Two discussed programming languages, another popular item on our site. Here we revisit five of those favorite postings from the past year, updating readers on new developments, among them promising COVID-19 tests and therapeutics, no-code programming, and an incredibly versatile robotic third leg. All of which, if the tremendous challenges of the past year offer any guidance, could be a useful survival kit for enduring whatever 2021 has in store.

  • COVID-19 Study: Quell the “Bradykinin Storm”

    Precisely how the novel coronavirus causes COVID-19 may still be a mystery. But one year into the pandemic, it’s no longer quite a mystery wrapped inside an enigma. This was the upshot of a landmark coronavirus study from July conducted by a team of American scientists using the Summit supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in ­Tennessee. Their genetic-data mining paper, published in the journal eLife, concluded that one lesser-studied biomolecule arguably lies at the heart of how the SARS-CoV-2 virus causes COVID-19.

    Bradykinin is a peptide that regulates blood pressure and causes blood vessels to become permeable. The Oak Ridge study concluded that the novel coronavirus effectively hacks the body’s ­bradykinin system, leading to a sort of molecular landslide. In so many words, a “bradykinin storm” overdilates blood vessels in the lungs, leading to fluid buildup, congestion, and difficulty breathing. And because an overabundance of bradykinin can trigger heart, kidney, neurological, and circulatory problems, the bradykinin hypothesis may lead to yet more coronavirus treatments.

    Daniel Jacobson, Oak Ridge chief scientist for computational systems biology, says his team’s eLife study has been partly vindicated in the months since publication. Their paper highlighted a dozen compounds they said could be effective for some COVID-19 patients. Three of those drugs in particular have since proved, in early clinical trials, to show significant promise: Icatibant (a bradykinin blocker), calcifediol (a vitamin D analogue that targets a pathway related to bradykinin), and ­dexamethasone (a steroid that blocks signaling from bradykinin receptors).

    “Our focus is on getting the work out in ways that are going to help people,” Jacobson says. “We’re excited about these other data points that keep confirming the model.”

    The above is an update to a blog post (2020’s second most popular) that originally appeared on 2 August at spectrum.ieee.org/covidcode-aug2020

  • Third Leg Lends a Hand

    Need an extra hand? How about an extra foot? Roboticists in Canada, from the ­Université de Sherbrooke, in ­Quebec, have been developing supernumerary robotic limbs that are designed to explore what humans can do with three arms, or even three legs. The robotic limbs are similar in weight to human limbs, and are strong and fast thanks to ­magnetorheological clutches that feed pressurized water through a hydrostatic transmission system. This system, coupled to a power source inside a backpack, keeps the limb’s inertia low while also providing high torque.

    Mounted at a user’s hips, a supernumerary robotic arm can do things like hold tools, pick apples, play badminton, and even smash through a wall, all while under the remote control of a nearby human. The supernumerary robotic leg is more autonomous, able to assist with several different human gaits at a brisk walk and add as much as 84 watts of power. The leg could also be used to assist with balance, acting as a sort of hands-free cane. It can even move quickly enough to prevent a fall— far more quickly than a biological leg. Adding a second robotic leg opposite the first suggests even more possibilities, including a human-robot quadruped gait, which would be a completely new kind of motion.

    Eventually, the researchers hope to generalize these extra robotic limbs so that a single limb could function as either an arm, a leg, or perhaps even a tail, depending on what you need it to do. Their latest work was presented in October at the 2020 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), cosponsored by IEEE and the Robotics Society of Japan.

    The above is an update to a blog post (2020’s fifth most popular ) that originally appeared on 4 June at spectrum.ieee.org/thirdarm-jun2020

  • The Hello Robot Arm Offers a Leg Up

    Last summer was a challenging time to launch a new robotics company. But Hello Robot, which announced its new mobile manipulator this past July, has been working hard to provide its robot (called Stretch) to everyone who wants one. Over the last six months, Hello Robot, based in Martinez, Calif., has shipped dozens of the US $17,950 robots to customers, which have included an even mix of academia and industry.

    One of these early adopters of Stretch is Microsoft, which used the robot as part of a company-wide hackathon last summer. A Microsoft developer, Sidh, has cerebral palsy, and while Sidh has no trouble writing code with his toes, there are some everyday tasks—like getting a drink of water—that he regularly needs help with. Sidh started a hackathon team with Microsoft employees and interns to solve this problem with Stretch. Although most of the team knew very little about robotics, over just three days of remote work they were able to program Stretch to operate semiautonomously through voice control. Now Stretch can manipulate objects (including cups of water) at Sidh’s request. It’s still just a prototype, but Microsoft has already made the code open source, so that others can benefit from the work. Sidh is still working with Stretch to teach it to be even more useful.

    In the past, Hello Robot cofounder Charlie Kemp’s robot of choice has been a $400,000, 227-kilogram robot called PR2. Stretch offers many of the same mobile manipulation capabilities. But its friendly size and much lower cost mean that people who before might not have considered buying a robot are now giving Stretch a serious look.

    The above is an update to a blog post (2020’s sixth most popular) that originally appeared on 14 July at ­spectrum.ieee.org/hellorobot-jul2020

  • At-Home COVID-19 Test Hits Snags

    When last we heard from the maverick biotech entrepreneur Jonathan ­Rothberg, he’d just invented a rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19 that was as accurate as today’s best lab tests but easy enough for regular people to use in their own homes. Rothberg had pivoted one of his companies, the synthetic biology startup Homodeus, to develop a home test kit. During the first months of the pandemic, he worked with academic and clinical collaborators to test his team’s designs. In March, he optimistically projected a ready date of “weeks to months.” By late August, when The New Yorker published an article about his crash project, he spoke of getting the tests “out there by Thanksgiving.”

    Unfortunately, the so-called Detect kits haven’t yet made it to doctors’ offices or drugstore shelves. As of press time, Rothberg hoped to receive emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late December, which would enable Homodeus to distribute the kits to health professionals. The kit could then be approved for consumers early in 2021.

    The Homodeus team got slowed down by their insistence on simplicity and scalability, Rothberg tells IEEE Spectrum. As they finalized the prototype, they also secured their supply chains. Once they receive FDA approval they’ll be able to “deliver upwards of 10 million tests per month,” Rothberg says.

    The above is an update to a blog post (2020’s eighth most popular) that originally appeared on 13 March at spectrum.ieee.org/covidtest-mar2020

  • Toward a World Without Code

    No-code development—building software without writing code—gained momentum in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments and organizations needed swift action for a ­fast-moving crisis. They turned to no-code platforms to rapidly develop and deploy essential software, including a COVID-19 management hub that allowed New York City and Washington, D.C., to deliver critical services to residents; a loan-processing system for a bank so it could receive Paycheck Protection Program applications from small businesses; and a workforce safety solution to aid the return of employees to their workplaces.

    Tech companies capitalized on this trend too. In June 2020, ­Amazon Web Services released its no-code tool, Honeycode, in beta. A month later, Microsoft launched Project Oakdale, a built-in low-code data platform for Microsoft Teams. With Project Oakdale, users can create custom data tables, apps, and bots within the chat and videoconferencing platform using Power Apps, Microsoft’s no-code software.

    The no-code movement is also reaching the frontiers of artificial intelligence. Popular no-code machine-learning platforms include Apple’s Create ML, Google’s AutoML, Obviously AI, and Teachable Machine. These platforms make it easier for those with little to no coding expertise to train and deploy ­machine-learning models, as well as quickly categorize, extract, and analyze data.

    No-code development is set to go mainstream over the coming years, with the market research company Forrester predicting the emergence of hybrid teams of business users and software developers building apps together using no-code platforms. As the trends noted above take root in both the public and private sectors, there is little doubt today that—to modify an old programmer’s maxim—the future increasingly will be written in no-code.

    The above is an update to a blog post (2020’s most popular) that originally appeared on 11 March at ­spectrum.ieee.org/nocode-mar2020

This article appears in the January 2021 print issue as “2020’s Most Popular Blog Posts.”

Team CoSTAR Trains Robots for Exploring Caves on Earth and Space

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/aerospace/robotic-exploration/team-costar-robots-earth-space

Another DARPA SubT team that’s been doing it’s own in-cave practice to prepare for the final event next year is Team CoSTAR, from NASA JPL and Caltech. CoSTAR, of course, won the SubT Urban Circuit earlier this year with their team of wheeled and legged robots, which was awesome—but you’d maybe expect that for a group developing planetary exploration robots, places like urban environments and man-made tunnels wouldn’t necessarily be their top priority, right? Unless there’s something they’re not telling us, and I’m sure it’s aliens.*

NASA’s been working on robotic cave exploration for a long, long time, and Team CoSTAR (and the SubT Challenge) fit right in with that. The team and its robots have been spending some time in lava tubes, and we asked some folks from NASA JPL how it’s been going.

Video Friday: These Robots Wish You Happy Holidays!

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-happy-holidays-2020

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

ICCR 2020 – December 26-29, 2020 – [Online]
HRI 2021 – March 8-11, 2021 – [Online]
RoboSoft 2021 – April 12-16, 2021 – [Online]

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.


“Boston Dynamics Will Continue to Be Boston Dynamics,” Company Says

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/industrial-robots/boston-dynamics-hyundai-interview

Last week’s announcement that Hyundai acquired Boston Dynamics from SoftBank left us with a lot of questions. We attempted to answer many of those questions ourselves, which is typically bad practice, but sometimes it’s the only option when news like that breaks.

Fortunately, yesterday we were able to speak with Michael Patrick Perry, vice president of business development at Boston Dynamics, who candidly answered our questions about Boston Dynamics’ new relationship with Hyundai and what the near future has in store.

Video Friday: MIT Mini-Cheetah Robots Looking for New Homes

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-mit-mini-cheetah-robots-naver-labs

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

ICCR 2020 – December 26-29, 2020 – [Online Conference]
HRI 2021 – March 8-11, 2021 – [Online Conference]
RoboSoft 2021 – April 12-16, 2021 – [Online Conference]

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.


Hyundai Buys Boston Dynamics for Nearly $1 Billion. Now What?

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/humanoids/hyundai-buys-boston-dynamics

This morning just after 3 a.m. ET, Boston Dynamics sent out a media release confirming that Hyundai Motor Group has acquired a controlling interest in the company that values Boston Dynamics at US $1.1 billion:

Under the agreement, Hyundai Motor Group will hold an approximately 80 percent stake in Boston Dynamics and SoftBank, through one of its affiliates, will retain an approximately 20 percent stake in Boston Dynamics after the closing of the transaction.

The release is very long, but does have some interesting bits—we’ll go through them, and talk about what this might mean for both Boston Dynamics and Hyundai.

Wheels Are Better Than Feet for Legged Robots

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/wheels-are-better-than-feet-for-legged-robots

As much as we like to go on about bio-inspired robots (and we do go on about them), there are some things that nature hasn’t quite figured out yet. Wheels are almost one of those things—while some animals do roll, and have inspired robots based on that rolling, true wheeled motion isn’t found in nature above the microscopic level. When humans figured out how useful wheels were, we (among other things) strapped them to our feet to make our motion more efficient under certain conditions, which really showed nature who was boss. Our smug wheeled superiority hasn’t lasted very long, though, because robots are rapidly becoming more skilled with wheels than we can ever hope to be.

The key difference between a human on roller skates and a robot on actuated wheels is that the robot, if it’s engineered properly, can exert control over its wheels with a nuance that we’ll never be able to match. We’ve seen this in action with Boston Dynamics’ Handle, Handle, although so far, Handle hasn’t seemed to take full advantage of the fact that it’s got legs, too. To understand why wheels and legs together are such a game-changer for robotic mobility, we can take a look at ANYmal, which seamlessly blends four legs and four wheels together with every movement it makes.

Video Friday: Japan’s Gundam Robot Takes BIG Step Forward

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/humanoids/video-friday-japan-gundam-robot-big-step

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

ACRA 2020 – December 8-10, 2020 – [Online]

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.


Australian Team Running Its Own DARPA-Style Cave Challenge to Test Robots

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/darpa-subt-team-csiro-data-61

Although the in-person Systems Track event of the DARPA SubT Challenge was cancelled because of the global pandemic, the Systems Track teams still have to prepare for the Final Event in 2021, which will include a cave component. Systems Track teams have been on their own to find cave environments to test in, and many of them are running their own DARPA-style competitions to test their software and hardware.

We’ll be posting a series of interviews exploring where and how the teams are making this happen, and today we’re featuring Team CSIRO Data 61, based in Brisbane, Australia.

Video Friday: These Giant Robots Are Made of Air, Fabric

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-air-giant-soft-robots

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

ACRA 2020 – December 8-10, 2020 – [Online]

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.


Boston Dynamics’ Spot Is Helping Chernobyl Move Towards Safe Decommissioning

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/boston-dynamics-spot-chernobyl

In terms of places where you absolutely want a robot to go instead of you, what remains of the utterly destroyed Chernobyl Reactor 4 should be very near the top of your list. The reactor, which suffered a catastrophic meltdown in 1986, has been covered up in almost every way possible in an effort to keep its nuclear core contained. But eventually, that nuclear material is going to have to be dealt with somehow, and in order to do that, it’s important to understand which bits of it are just really bad, and which bits are the actual worst. And this is where Spot is stepping in to help.

Video Friday: Matternet Launches Urban Drone Delivery in Berlin

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-matternet-drone-delivery-berlin

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

IROS 2020 – October 25-25, 2020 – [Online]
Bay Area Robotics Symposium – November 20, 2020 – [Online]
ACRA 2020 – December 8-10, 2020 – [Online]

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.


Coordinated Robotics Wins DARPA SubT Virtual Cave Circuit

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-software/coordinated-robotics-wins-darpa-subt-virtual-cave-circuit

DARPA held the Virtual Cave Circuit event of the Subterranean Challenge on Tuesday in the form of a several hour-long livestream. We got to watch (along with all of the competing teams) as virtual robots explored virtual caves fully autonomously, dodging rockfalls, spotting artifacts, scoring points, and sometimes running into stuff and falling over.

Expert commentary was provided by DARPA, and we were able to watch multiple teams running at once, skipping from highlight to highlight. It was really very well done (you can watch an archive of the entire stream here), but they made us wait until the very end to learn who won: First place went to Coordinated Robotics, with BARCS taking second, and third place going to newcomer Team Dynamo.

Watch DARPA’s SubT Cave Circuit Virtual Competition

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/darpa-subt-cave-circuit-virtual-competition

While we’re super bummed that COVID forced the cancellation of the Systems Track event of the DARPA Subterranean Challenge Cave Circuit, the good news is that the Virtual Track (being virtual) is 100 percent coronavirus-free, and the final event is taking place tomorrow, November 17, right on schedule. And honestly, it’s about time the Virtual Track gets the attention that it deserves—we’re as guilty as anyone of focusing more heavily on the Systems Track, being full of real robots that alternate between amazingly talented and amazingly klutzy, but the Virtual Track is just as compelling, in a very different way.

DARPA has scheduled the Cave Circuit Virtual Track live event for Tuesday starting at 2 p.m. ET, and we’ve got all the details.

Video Friday: Aquanaut Robot Takes to the Ocean

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-aquanaut-robot

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

IROS 2020 – October 25-25, 2020 – [Online]
ICSR 2020 – November 14-16, 2020 – Golden, Colo., USA
Bay Area Robotics Symposium – November 20, 2020 – [Online]
ACRA 2020 – December 8-10, 2020 – [Online]

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.