May 1, 2008
A village in England will host a robot hide-and-seek exercise next month, when 11 teams drawn from private companies and universities compete to sniff out snipers, roadside bombs, and other hidden dangers while relaying real-time images to a command post.
The MOD Grand Challenge, as it’s called, is billed as the U.K. Ministry of Defense’s counterpart to the U.S. DARPA Challenges, except it’s military robots that compete against one another instead of robotic cars.
The purpose is to boost development of small robot teams capable of scouting out and alerting troops to potentially dangerous surprises on the urban battlefield. The robots must autonomously negotiate complex, unfamiliar terrain and urban clutter to locate the threats. Points are earned based on the number of threats uncovered in one hour. Points are lost if a team resorts to remote control to maneuver its bots at any stage.
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