Our team was invited to have a booth at the DARPA Robotics Challenge at the Pomona Fairplex, next to Los Angeles, California. The event is a yearlong competition in which teams from top engineering universities construct robots that can autonomously navigate a course with the theme of disaster response. The teams are awarded points for completing tasks: opening a door, drilling a hole through a wall and punching it out, negotiating through rubble, and more. The competitor with the most points and fastest time will take home a multi-million dollar prize.
Just outside of the main arena is the robotics expo. It is comprised of groundbreaking robotics engineers, academic researchers and commercial entities that are giving exciting demonstrations of current robotics. Our lab is demonstrating the real world use of robotics in applied environmental science research. Our booth attracted a continuous crowd throughout the day. We are displaying the many OpenROVs that we have built and modified, along with two Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: The Iris + and a modified DJI Inspire with an Infrared camera. The reactions that our booth has received so far have been incredibly positive. The fact that our team is only one year old shows the amount of potential we have to grow in coming years.
While our first day here at DARPA 2015 primarily consisted of setting up and settling in, we are looking forward to conducting our live demonstration in the large National Institute of Standards and Testing (NIST) Remotely Operated Vehicle test tank tomorrow.