DARPA robotics competition coming to Satsop Business Park

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line in February’s Subterranean (SubT) Challenge Urban Circuit

Leading scientists and researchers from arround the world will gather at the Satsop Business Park to compete and test their latest autonomous ground and aerial robots. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has chosen the business park’s thick cement walled reactor building to host its Subterranean (SubT) Challenge Urban Circuit on Feb. 18-27.

According to a release, the challenge was created to “better equip warfighters and first responders to explore uncharted, underground environments that are too dangerous, dark or deep to risk human lives.”

DARPA-funded and self-funded robot teams will compete to find objects, such as a thermal manikin that emulates a human survivor, a cellphone and a backpack. Self-funded teams compete for cash prizes with $500,000 on the line for first place, $250,000 for second plance and $100,000 for third place.

“We are proud to partner with DARPA to host the event and look forward to welcoming everyone to Grays Harbor, Port Commissioner Phil Papac said.

DARPA has pioneered technological breakthroughs in defense including stealth, unmanned aerial systems and precision guided munitions. Other DARPA projects have lead to widespread use of GPS, voice recognition, personal computers and the internet which in part grew out of their ARPANET project. Current DARPA research is focused on areas like self-driving vehicles, robots, exoskeletons and cognitive computing.