We're still a long way from perfect robots

Fallen robotDARPAWhoops.

The Superbowl of robotics kicked off on Friday and just like in a real sporting event there were some major wipe-outs. 

The Robotics Challenge is sponsored by DARPA, which is the advanced research arm of the Defence Department. The aim of the competition is to find a robot that can be truly useful in emergency situations.

Twenty-three robots are competing for a $US2 million grand prize. 

The robots must finish a course that includes tasks like driving, climbing stairs, and operating over rubble. 

While most of the tasks in this year’s competition aren’t new, DARPA did implement some changes that have made the course much more difficult. 

One of the big changes is DARPA no longer allows power cords, all batteries have to on board, said Gill Pratt, the program manager of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. Also, there’s no tethered communication this year. All communication must be wireless.

“The course this year is about ten times harder than it was last year,” Pratt said. “We are really pushing these teams to be authentic as possible and make robots that are good enough to use in a disaster.”

But not all of the robots that competed in the competition were ready for changes and took some pretty gnarly spills.

Here’s some of the best falls we caught. 

Trying to turn a valve when you’re not actually holding the valve has a nasty result:

Walking up stairs is hard:

And if that’s not enough for you, here’s a compilation of other contestants falling over:

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