DARPA is the acronym of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US department of defense and it has conducted a challenge for robots in Miami, Florida - Google"s Schaft robot won the two-day challenge.

There were a total of 15 teams and the winning robot Schaft carried out all eight rescue-themed tasks to outscore its rivals by a wide margin and three of the other teams that participated failed to secure any points.

With this win, Schaft, the 1.48m (4ft 11in) tall, two-legged robot and seven of the other top-scorers will now be eligible to apply for additional funds from DARPA to compete in the finals of 2014.

The robots had to carry out a number of rescue operations like drive a utility vehicle along a course, climb an 8ft-high (2.4m) ladder, remove debris blocking a doorway etcetera

The need for such robots arose from the disaster of Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan where it was not feasible to send in ordinary people to perform dangerous rescue and salvage operations.

The competition generated a lot of interest and upward of 100 teams originally applied to take part, but the numbers were finally whittled down to 17 by DARPA.

However, one self-funded team from China - Intelligent Pioneer - dropped out at the last moment, and ultimately there were 16 contestants at the Homestead-Miami Speedway racetrack.

Incidentally, the incentive is lucrative - the top eight teams can now apply for up to $1m of DARPA investment before the finals to improve the skill of their robots and the final winner would get the $2m prize money.

Source: bbc.com

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