Selling The DARPA Robotics Challenge
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Monday, 06 April 2015

If you think that the DARPA Robotics Challenge is going to be a quiet academic sort of thing, then DARPA for one doesn't agree. If you view the latest promo video you might think you had fallen into an episode of robotwar. 

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The DARPA Robotics Challenge DRC (Darpa Robotics Challenge Grows) seems to be turning into a bit of a circus. You might have thought that this test of robotics would be of interest to just the few, well probably quite a few, robot enthusiasts in the world, but now DARPA seems to want the whole world to watch. This isn't quite how things were done for other challenges. 

The DRC website is stressing that fact that the challenge is "Open to the Public" and going out of its way to encourage people to turn up. If you can't turn up then watch the live stream video. 

 

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As the site says:

The Robots Come to California June 5-6

Will you be there when the robots face off?

Twenty-five of the top robotics organizations in the world will gather to compete for $3.5 million in prizes as they attempt a simulated disaster-response course. The event is free to attend and open to the public. It takes place at Fairplex (home of the LA County Fair) in Pomona, California, just east of downtown Los Angeles.


To drum up even more visitors there is a video that uses clips from the previous trials to make things look really exciting.  

 

The only problem with this level of excitement is, as anyone who followed what happened at the trials will probably tell you, it just wasn't that exciting. The robots mostly did things at  a snails pace, fell over a lot and generally failed to complete tasks. Don't misunderstand, it was all fascinating and worth watching but it wasn't particularly exciting and it wasn't the sort of thing that the general public would thrill to. 

It is true that since the trials the robots have improved a lot and there are lots of people looking forward to seeing them perform better, much better, but the video makes it look as if the spectators are going to see something from a sci fi movie. I hope that they do, but I have a feeling that they might be a little disappointed.

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Is this a sales pitch too far? 

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Last Updated ( Monday, 06 April 2015 )