The DARPA Subterranean Challenge will task teams of robots with autonomous exploration deep beneath the surface of the Earth
This weekend, nine teams of robots (and their humans) will make their way to the Edgar Experimental Mine in Idaho Springs, Colo. There, they’ll take part in an initial integration exercise for the DARPA Subterranean Challenge, or SubT. DARPA SubT is a challenge on a similar scale to DARPA’s incredible Robotics Challenge that took place in 2015—a series of competitions based on real-world needs, attracting some of the best roboticists in the world with sophisticated robotic hardware to match.
The integration exercise (which is closed to anyone but the participating teams, we definitely asked) is just the first step in a challenge that will involve both a virtual competition and a competition for physical systems, each with multiple circuits culminating in a final that wraps everything together into one epic event. Some teams will get over US $4 million in DARPA funding, and the prize pool for the finals is up to $2 million. We’ll be following SubT through multiple stages all the way until the final event, which is schedule for August of 2021.
In this article, we’ll get into the details of what SubT is all about, and in a separate post later today we’ll put everything in context with an interview with DARPA program manager Dr. Timothy Chung.
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