Team KAIST’s DRC-HUBO Cutting Hole in Wall. Photo courtesy of DARPA.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) is just about the closest thing we have to a robot Olympics.

Starting today in Pomona, California, and continuing through all of tomorrow, 24 teams will put their robots through a series of eight difficult tasks that must be completed within one hour.

These challenges include:

  • Driving a vehicle
  • Exiting the vehicle
  • Opening a door and then entering a building
  • Locating and closing a valve
  • Cutting through a wall
  • A surprise task
  • Removing rubble or navigating the terrain
  • Climbing stairs

The great news for robot fans the world over is that all eight courses of the event are being streamed live on YouTube. The stream from the main course is embedded below.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dv9Wm20UrcU]

The winners from the challenge will be announced Saturday, June 6, at 7pm Pacific time. The team who wins first prize will receive $2 million. Second place winners walk away with $1 million, and third place gets $500,000.

And while the prize purse is significant, the glory and satisfaction of creating a super-robot capable of disaster relief has got to be a significant motivation for these teams as well.