Google-powered machines lead DARPA's Robotics Challenge (video)

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Google-powered machines lead DARPA's Robotics Challenge (video)

And you thought the Big Dog was scary? Okay, Boston Dynamics' quadrupedal, un-tip-overable 'bot still takes the cake, but SCHAFT (pictured above) deserves its own condo in the uncanny valley. And to think, they'll both be eating together at a cafeteria in Mountain View soon. That 'bot won DARPA's rescue-oriented competition this weekend by successfully navigating tricky terrain and clearing debris. Two other teams, IHMC Robotics and MIT, earned respective second and fourth places with variants on Boston Dynamics' Atlas machine. Other top-ranking entries included third-place Tartan Rescue as well as RoboSimian, Traclabs, WRECS and Trooper. The high scores are useful for more than just bragging rights. These top eight teams will receive DARPA funding as they move on to the Robotics Challenge finals in late 2014; they'll have a big (metal) leg up versus rivals that will have to pay to play. Congratulations to all, but if you don't mind, we'll be keeping our distance from Google headquarters until we know exactly what Andy Rubin plans to do with his new army of metal men and beasts.

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