‘Intelligent’ Robots Hold Rich Potential for Korea R2D2 May Soon be Your Household Companion Korea’s Smart Robot Ambitions Catch Int’l Attention October to See Venture Into Space-Age Robot Utopia Korea has developed its own android capable of facial expressions on its humanoid face, the second such machine to be developed after one from Japan. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy invited some 60 children to the Kyoyuk Munhwa Hoekwan in Seoul to introduce Ever-1 to the public. The name combines the first human name found in the Bible, Eve, with the “r” in robot.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) today announced plans to hold its third Grand Challenge competition on November 3, 2007. The DARPA Urban Challenge will feature autonomous ground vehicles executing simulated military supply missions safely and effectively in a mock urban area. Safe operation in traffic is essential to U.S. military plans to use autonomous ground vehicles to conduct important missions.
DARPA will award prizes for the top three autonomous ground vehicles that compete in a final event where they must safely complete a 60-mile urban area course in fewer than six hours. First prize is $2 million, second prize is $500,000 and third prize is $250,000. To succeed, vehicles must autonomously obey traffic laws while merging into moving traffic, navigating traffic circles, negotiating busy intersections and avoiding obstacles.
“A European version of the DARPA Grand Challenge [CC] is being held in Germany next month. Instead of a race through the desert, the EU challenge is split into three events. Urban, non-urban, and landmine detection will be the ‘courses’, with multiple winners in each event. Interestingly Sebastian Thrun, winner of last year’s Challenge, has been forbidden from taking part despite being a European citizen.” From the article: “The trials will take place in and around Hammelburg, a mockup of a town used by the German military for training exercises. In the non-urban course the robots will have to contend with a one-kilometer route containing ditches, barbed wire fences, cattle guards, fires, narrow underpasses, and inclines of up to 40 degrees. The urban and landmine 500-meter trials will require the robots to negotiate doorways, stairs, partially collapsed buildings, and poor visibility from smoke or partial lighting. Along the way, they will also have to search for designated objects and report their findings back to base.”
dylanduck writes “Good news for rover fans – Spirit is safe for the winter. It had been heading for a north-tilting spot to make sure its solar panels got enough sunlight during the imminent winter to survive, when a sand trap appeared. But, despite its busted wheel, it scooted round and is now sitting pretty. From the article: ‘We’ve got a safe rover,’ says principal investigator Steve Squyres. ‘That’s huge news for us.'”