Darpa Robots Pit Electrics against Hydraulics

Graphic - DARPA Robotics Challenge

We specialize in electric servo motors, drives, and controls, so we naturally are rooting for the electric contenders in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals coming up next week.

There will be 25 entrants in the finals, which challenge robots to clear up debris from simulated disasters. Seven of the contenders are based on Atlas, a 6’3″ hydraulic model created by Boston Dynamics.

Two of the contenders are based on Hubo, an electric model originally developed in South Korea. Team DRC-Hubo from the University of Nevada Las Vegas is heading back after competing in 2013. Team KAIST of South Korea, where the Hubo began, is also in the competition.

The Atlas, which uses the less energy-efficient hydraulics option, has an extra challenge, because all robots must carry their own power sources.

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is working to encourage new ideas in robotics, and to bring them within reach of the U.S. government. They said in a recent press release that the explosion of innovation in robotics that is going on in garages, maker spaces, and small businesses means that “the U.S. government is not benefiting from some of the most cutting-edge robotics developers in the nation.”

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