Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Supervised Autonomy

Automated capabilities with human supervision; "human in the loop"

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Robots can learn to recognize objects and patterns fairly well, but to interpret and be able to act on visual input is much more difficult.  Researchers at the University of Maryland, funded by DARPA’s Mathematics of Sensing, Exploitation and Execution (MSEE) program, recently developed a system that enabled robots to process visual data from a series of “how to” cooking videos on YouTube. Based on what was shown on a video, robots were able to recognize, grab and manipulate the correct kitchen utensil or object and perform the demonstrated task with high accuracy—without additional human input or programming.  
Five short videos prepared by U.S. high school students have been selected as winning entries in DARPA’s Robots4Us video contest and will be featured at a June 7 invitational workshop on the future of robotics. DARPA launched the contest to stimulate student consideration of the potential societal implications of robotics.
The past 10 years have seen an explosion of robotics advances from small businesses and individuals, thanks in part to lower manufacturing costs and the global rise of community workshops such as makerspaces and hackerspaces, which serve as incubators for rapid, low-cost collaboration and innovation. Unfortunately, the small-scale robotics community has tended to fly under the radar of traditional federal agencies and commercial technology providers, which generally rely on multi-year, multi-million-dollar contracts for technology development. This disconnect means that the U.S. government is not benefiting from some of the most cutting-edge robotics developers in the nation.
Culminating a year and a half of intensive preparation by teams from around the world, nearly two dozen robots yesterday strove to prove their full-metal mettle in simulated disaster zones during day one of the two-day DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Finals, being held at the Fairplex in Pomona, Calif.
“May the best robot win” has been a frequently uttered phrase throughout the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, held this Friday and Saturday at the Fairplex in Pomona, California. After years of research and development, several intense days of preparation at the competition site, a day of rehearsal and two full days of head-to-head competition in front of thousands of spectators, the verdict is in.