Geo Week News

June 8, 2015

Featured Video: Robots Falling Down

Robots Falling Down

DARPA has been host to a number of innovations that changed our industry (see last week’s story on their new mirror less LiDAR device, for instance). Their competitions have given us a lot, too. Many cite their Grand Challenge, a race for self-driving cars across the Mojave desert in the US, as one of the great forces behind the development of autonomous car technology. Velodyne, for instance, mentions the event in their “origin” story as the route they took to get into commercial LiDAR. And now those LiDAR devices are cars driving around the back roads of America.

But their challenges, like last week’s Robotics Challenge, also see a lot of failures.

This is going to happen when we experiment with solving a big problem that requires a lot of creative thinking. In this case, the problem is how to get autonomous machines into an hazardous situation like the reactor at Fukushima, enabling teams to operate the emergency equipment remotely. The failures are… robots falling down.

In case last week’s video of the running/jumping cheetah bot freaked you out a little bit, this should make you feel better. Many of these robots are equipped with LiDAR, too. Most of them can’t hold a drill without falling over.

Robots won’t be taking over any time soon. Probably.

(I recommend you mute the video and use this as your soundtrack instead) 

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