NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has created a robot for the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), a competition consisting of several disaster-related tasks for robots to perform – using Velodyne’s spinning LiDAR sensor as a key element of the robot’s perception system. The DARPA autonomous vehicle challenge was where Velodyne got its start in developing lidar sensors.
In the finals, the robot will be faced with such tasks as driving a vehicle and getting in and out of it, negotiating debris blocking a doorway, cutting a hole in a wall, opening a valve and crossing a field with cinderblocks or other debris. Organizers have also promised a surprise task.
I wouldn’t bet against them.