The apparatus will be developed in partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and will be used in this year's DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials (DRC).
The competition by DARPA is to advance robot technology for use in disaster environments. The apparatus developed by SwRI, an independent, non-profit, applied research and development organization, will help assess the human-like dexterity and mobility of robots in the challenge.
SwRI will also provide software-evaluation services for the open-source DRC Simulator, a cloud-based, real-time, operator-interactive virtual test bed that can be used as an algorithm-development platform and robot-command source, as well as a tool for individual team evaluation.
"Robot performance will be scored in areas such as driving a four-wheel vehicle, traversing uneven terrain after leaving the vehicle, opening doors, clearing rubble, climbing steep stairs and cutting holes in walls," said Andrew Moore, senior research engineer in SwRI's Applied Physics Division and DRC project manager. "The trials are designed to spur the development of innovative robot hardware and software technologies that ultimately might be used to reduce hazards to human rescue teams, prevent additional destruction and save lives."