back to article DARPA unTerminators gather for Robotics Challenge finals in Hell*

Schwarzenegger-sized robots that can break through walls are the staple of Hollywood, but the real thing is coming to California. The US military's secret-squirrel super-science-project unit DARPA is preparing to hold the finals of its Robotics Challenge contest in Los Angeles this weekend. 25 teams are flying in to take part …

  1. Malc

    Mystery Task

    /kill all humans

    1. tony2heads

      Re: Mystery Task

      Will it need a phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range, or will it use knives and stabbing weapons

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I can understand why some wouldn't work with DARPA, I see restrictions in FOSS all the time. It makes it interesting to figure out what you can use, matching it to project, and provide the software glue that you to replace that which is restricted.

    The article is misleading in that most of those tasks are skills used in combat by real infantrymen, right down to going through walls rather than around. "Around" can get you killed if a building is surrounded and under fire. Ditto rubble, etc.

    I wonder if any of them are using the devices that have come about to detect human beings through obstructions. Little used yet (should have been rushed to Nepal), but also relevant for combat. As for power, screw the battery or at least reduce it some. Tack in a mini gas turbine generator, works great, lasts long time, and you can run it on pretty much any fuel around that's liquid. [I've worked on them before. Impressive beasts. And very quiet in low power regimes.]

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Observations

      What restrictions to you see in FOSS all the time?

    2. auburnman

      Re: Observations

      The bot can't be engine powered if it's intended to go into buildings and rescue people. And I'm just speculating but I would imagine the engine wouldn't be able to scale up & down in power supply fast enough for the balance adjustments needed to stay upright on two legs.

  3. Wzrd1

    The robots will destroy us all!

    Shortly after proton decay is completed in this universe.

    1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: The robots will destroy us all!

      And shortly before Linux on the desktop.

  4. VinceH

    "The mechanoids will have to drive a car to the test site, open a door,"

    ...and say "Come with me if you want to live!"

    I know, I know, it was Kyle Reese - a human - who said that in The Terminator. It sounded funny in my head, mmkay?

    1. Little Mouse Silver badge

      Perhaps the killer robots' mystery task will be to improvise a decent disguise. Even Arnie would have failed that one.

      I love the way he starts sporting a mullet partway through the original movie. Did he seriously believe that a slightly changed haircut would render him instantly unrecognisable?

    2. Vic

      I know, I know, it was Kyle Reese - a human - who said that in The Terminator

      It was Schwarzenegger's T101 that said it in the second film...


  5. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    "Standing on two feet is easy when..."

    This is precisely why I have wondered the following: Why is no one trying a Centaur-like design? Four legs for stability but a humanoid upper torso for dexterity, etc. Not only is the four legged design more inherently stable and require less processing power for balance, but it also provides space for power generation and significant carrying capacity for tools, rescued meatbags, etc.

    1. h 6

      Re: "Standing on two feet is easy when..."

      Have you ever seen a centaur drive a vehicle?

      That's why.

      1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

        Re: "Standing on two feet is easy when..."

        Centaurs don't NEED vehicles. They have their own built-in um... attached horsepower.

        seriously though, I wasn't necessarily meaning for this specific challenge but more in general. For this specific challenge, any vehicle designed to be driven by someone in a wheelchair could be driven by an appropriately sized CentaurBot2020©®™

      2. GrantB

        Re: "Standing on two feet is easy when..."

        I have seen a four legged animal drive vehicles:

        Not well admittedly, but when you have 4 legs and no opposable thumbs,... and are a dog, then getting around a race track at all is pretty successful proof that it could be done by a robot.

        Adding arms/hands into a small centaur body shape would no doubt help.

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