A robot marathon is just what we need to prove reliable bipedal designs and who knows the next stage might be humans v robots.
Vstone, a robot research and manufacturing company has had a good idea - let's start a marathon race for robots. The Robot Challenge is for 422 laps round a 100m track - making it a full marathon at over 26 miles.
Competitors have to be bipedal but they can be remotely controlled or autonomous. The autonomous robots however simply have to follow a line which isn't exactly cutting edge pattern recognition.
The robots can also be repaired along the way if necessary but the time for the run includes any pit stop time.
There are lots of unanswered questions at the moment - like what's the prize, where will it be run and so on - but the idea sounds like fun. Given the range of sizes that bipedal robots come in aspects of the course such as the tightness of turns will need to be considered. By making the turns tight larger bipedal robots could be easily disadvantaged.
Vstone will be entering its own robot - the Robovie PC - which is of course the real reason for the challenge. The Robovie PC looks a little unsure about where its is going (in the video) and it is more of a marathon walk rather than a run, but it at least provides a target to beat.
How long before we have robots running in silly costumes and picking up water to pour over their heads is another question.
We tend to think of robots as something like the Terminator or Marvin, or at least the popular press does. What is not completely understood is that simpler robots are likely to have as big an effect [ ... ]