TEEX employees attend DARPA Robotics Challenge in Florida

1/24/2014 12:00 AM

Two TEEX employees attended the recent DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials, where 16 teams were vying to demonstrate robots capable of assisting humans in disaster response.

Clint Arnett of TEEX Emergency Services Training Institute and Caleb Holt, Product Development Center Manager, attended the DARPA Robotics event, which was held at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida on Dec. 20-21.

Arnett attended as part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Responder Team, representing TEEX and Texas Task Force 1, at the invitation of Adam Jacoff of NIST. Task Force members from New York, California and Washington also attended and assisted with the set-up and troubleshooting throughout the event. Holt represented TEEX at the DRC Expo.

During the DRC competition, 16 teams guided their robots through eight individual, physical tasks that tested mobility, manipulation, dexterity, perception and operator control mechanisms. Eight teams were selected to receive continued DARPA funding, and along with unfunded teams, will compete in the DRC Finals for a $2 million prize.

“This was a cutting-edge science and technology event, and we were asked by NIST to help with the trials,” said Arnett. “TEEX has gained national recognition for hosting several Disaster City Response Robot Evaluations.

“The competition was very interesting,” he added. “Stages consisted of turning valves, pulling and connecting a fire hose, opening and walking through doors, picking up and moving debris, traversing uneven terrain, climbing stairs and driving a Polaris utility vehicle on a short course. The SCHAFT team from Japan was the hands-down winner, completing all of the tasks handily.”

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