Darpa SubT Challenge 2018-2021
REVOLUTIONISING HOW WE OPERATE IN THE UNDERGROUND DOMAIN
The DARPA Subterranean or “SubT” Challenge is a US$2 million prize competition funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a prominent research organisation of the United States Department of Defence, which aims to explore new approaches to rapidly map, navigate, and search underground environments.
About the Challenge
Complex underground settings present significant challenges for military and civilian first responders. The hazards vary drastically across domains that can degrade or change over time and are often too high-risk for personnel to enter.
Teams from around the world were invited to propose novel methods for tackling these time-critical scenarios through unknown courses in mapping subsurface networks and unpredictable conditions.
The Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO’s Data61 is proud to be one of the seven teams selected to participate in the three-year-long challenge, taking part in the Systems Track.
“Participating in the challenge will drive the development of a range of technologies that are relevant to Australia, including autonomous mapping and inspection systems, and advanced communication systems for harsh indoor environments, such as underground mines”, Mr Fred Pauling, Robotics and Autonomous Systems group leader at CSIRO’s Data61, said.
Teams will develop and demonstrate physical systems to operate in live competitions on physical, representative subterranean courses, and focus on advancing and evaluating novel physical solutions in realistic field environments.
Teams will compete in three circuit events that will explore the difficulties of operating in underground environments: tunnel systems, urban underground and cave networks.
CSIRO Data61 SubT Challenge Team
Our team is made of nearly 30 people from CSIRO’s Data61 Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group, students from QUT and the University of Queensland as well as two funded partners including the Georgia Institute of Technology, led by renowned robo-ethicist, Professor Ron Arkin.
We are the only Australian entity competing in the SubT Challenge, and one of only seven teams worldwide to receive funding of up to US$4.5 million from DARPA across the three-year challenge.
CSIRO Data61 SubT Challenge Team’s Approach
We will create 3D maps of underground environments through LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scanners mounted on legged robots as well as unmanned aerial vehicles which can fly in GPS-denied environments without a human controller.
View our team approach here.
Teams will compete in three preliminary circuit events and a final integrated challenge course pursuing high-risk and high-reward approaches. The final event, planned for 2021, will put teams to the test with courses that incorporate diverse challenges from all three environments.
- CHALLENGE COMPETITORS DAY – September 2018
- TUNNEL CIRCUIT – August 2019
- URBAN CIRCUIT – February 2020
- CAVE CIRCUIT – August 2020
- FINAL EVENT – August 2021
See the full schedule here.
Below are some of our progress updates, stay tuned!
For more information, contact us.
- Inside Robotics – Aussie team to get down and dirty in underground robotics challenge
- Computer World – Meet the Aussie robot squad heading underground in the DARPA challenge
- IEEE Spectrum – DARPA Subterranean Challenge: Meet the First 9 Teams
- Computer World – What lies beneath: CSIRO robots rise to DARPA’s subterranean challenge
- Business Insider – The CSIRO won up to $6.2 million to develop a cave-exploring robot for the US military’s research agency
- Spacial Source – Data61 to compete in DARPA’s Subterranean Challenge
- PACE Today – CSIRO robotics group competes in US subterranean challenge
- Csiroscope – From science fiction to robot reality
- MIT Technology Review, Three robot advances that’ll be needed for DARPA’s new underground challenge
- Homeland Preparedness News, DARPA selects participants for competition to advance understanding of underground operations
- International Mining, CSIRO’s Data61 competing in DARPA Subterranean Challenge
- Yahoo! Finance, The CSIRO won up to $6.2 million to develop a cave-exploring robot for the US military’s research agency
- Mining Magazine, Mapping the underground with drones, legged robots
- Scimex, Unlocking the underground with airborne and legged robots
- Manufacturers’ Monthly, CSIRO team to compete in US robotics challenge
- Safe To Work, CSIRO to develop robotics technology for underground terrains
- CIO, What lies beneath: CSIRO robots rise to DARPA’s subterranean challenge
- Australian Manufacturing, CSIRO-led team earns spot at US robotics competition