CCS Sponsors Team ViGIR in DARPA Robotics Challenge

Feb. 18, 2013
Competitors to Develop Ground Robotics That Can Support First Responders in Emergency Situations

When industrial computing solutions provider CCS got wind of one of its clients' involvement in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge, its response to participate was immediate.

CCS volunteered to sponsor Team ViGIR, made up of researchers from TORC Robotics, Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany, and Virginia Tech in support of disaster relief efforts.

The goal of the challenge is for competitors to develop ground robotics that can support first responders in emergency situations. TORC develops advanced control software and human-robot interfaces that are leading to advancements for humanoid robots. If the systems are successful, they will be deployed as part of the challenge on the Atlas humanoid-robot platform being developed by Boston Dynamics for DARPA.

During a meeting which discussed requirements for the challenge, CCS and TORC identified they would need a hardware solution to power simulation applications and another one to run the complex, human-robotics software that was being developed.

"In a competition like this, there is no room for error," said Jonathan Couch, engineering manager for CCS.  "We knew that we could not use a standard product, so we chose to design and build several systems that were tailored to meet the exact needs of Team ViGIR."

According to CCS, the hardware solutions developed were built on Intel Core i7 3770 technology, have 8GB or 16GB RAM, and a high-performance EVGA GeForce GTX 690 video card was added to systems built for high-speed parallel processing.

"We have been impressed by the flexibility CCS has shown in the design process," said Michael Fleming, CEO of TORC. "Thanks to CCS, we have a dependable hardware solution that will allow our team to focus its efforts on the software being developed."

Take a look at the humanoid robot, based on the Boston Dynamics Petman robot, that will be provided to the top six performers in the virtual challenge: