NASA to hold competition for autonomous rock-collecting robots

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Mariella Moon
June 5th, 2015
In this article: nasa

DARPA isn't the only government agency holding a robotics competition this June. NASA's fourth Sample Return Robot Challenge will take place on June 8th to 13th, though with fewer contenders -- mostly universities and small businesses -- compared to DARPA's and a smaller prize pot worth $1.5 million. That's the contest's name, because it will be testing the competitors' ability to autonomously locate and pick up rock, dust and other geologic samples in varied landscapes. The agency says the contest aims to spur the development of new technologies related to autonomous navigation and robotic manipulation. NASA didn't exactly get into specifics, but based on the contest's specifications, any innovation that comes out of it could be used for the agency's future, sample-collecting, selfie-taking rovers. The event will be held at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, but you can watch it live online via the agency's Ustream channel.

[Image credit: NASA]
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