South Korean Robot DRC-Hubu Wins $2 Million in DARPA Challenge

South Korean Robot DRC-Hubu Wins $2 Million in DARPA Challenge

The American and Japanese robot armies have been beaten by a Korean.

25 robot teams competed in the DARPA robot challenge over the past two days. The best robots from around to world have competing in simulated disaster-response situations to win the $2 million award.

From the 25 robot teams in the finals there are a whopping 12 from the United States. The robot loving Japan has five teams in the running and South Korea has three. Germany managed to get two teams into the finals. Hong Kong and Italy have each one team in the competition. 

The winning robot is from South Korea. Team KAIST and their DRC-Hubo accomplished the simulated tasks the fastest. The United States robots at least scored second and third. The DRC-Hubo robot won though with several minutes advantage.


DRC-Hubo is the latest version of HUBO. HUBO stands for “HUmanoid roBOt”. HUBO has been developed since 2002. DRC-HUBO is the most powerful version among the previous HUBO series. The robot is redesigned to be more powerful and more capable. We rewrote the walking algorithm for the new design. Every joint motor is more powerful. All motors that handle a higher workload now are equipped with air cooling. The hands are stronger to handle various tasks in a disaster situation. It can also transform from a standing position, used for biped walking, to a kneeling pose that is meant for wheeled and fast motion. This gives the robot is uniqueness.

Team Kaist

DARPA program manager and DRC organizer Gill Pratt said, “These robots are big and made of lots of metal and you might assume people seeing them would be filled with fear and anxiety,” Pratt said. “But we heard groans of sympathy when those robots fell. And what did people do every time a robot scored a point? They cheered! It’s an extraordinary thing, and I think this is one of the biggest lessons from DRC—the potential for robots not only to perform technical tasks for us, but to help connect people to one another.”

Not always worked things like planned in the DARPA challenge last weekend. IEEE Spectrum released a compiliation of robots falling down during the challenge.

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