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Google rejects DARPA military funding for its robot

We’re talking about Schaft
Mon Mar 24 2014, 16:06
A silver toy robotic dog

GOOGLE'S ROBOTIC EFFORT Schaft will take part in a self-funded competition at the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) finals 2014, but will not accept any military funding.

DARPA announced the solo event in a blog post. It said that Schaft, which was last year's winner, will step aside into a new event now that it belongs to Google, and has made room for some new entrants in the competition.

"The decision by Team Schaft to self-fund allows DARPA to expand the competition and further develop disaster response robots," said DRC program manager Gill Pratt.

"This expansion is similar to what happened after DARPA held the Virtual Robotics Challenge in June 2013, when some teams shifted resources and allowed us to increase participation. I look forward to seeing the results of efforts by our new finalists and new team."

Google will reject the funding that comes with a place in the robotics finals, but DARPA said that two other outfits will pick up that coin. DARPA named these fresh teams as Thor and Vigir, and said that each is eligible for up to $500,000 in funding. Another team, team Kaist, is also self-funded.

The teams will pit their robots against each other in a series of challenges. The ultimate winner, which was Schaft in 2013, can walk away with $2m in cash, and glory.

When that happens is still up for debate, and DARPA is providing only a six-month window for us to mark in our calendars. It expects to hold the battle royale between December 2014 and June 2015. µ

 

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