The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's latest Grand Challenge is its 2012 $2 million Robotics Challenge. It invites engineers to come up with humanoid ground-based robots that can work in dangerous environments, including post-disaster scenarios like the artist's conception shown here. One priority for the challenge is developing supervised autonomous robots that non-experts can operate. These robots should also work in situations with poor electronic communications, such as intermittent or low-fidelity transmission. Tasks include driving a utility vehicle, traveling dismounted across rubble, removing debris blocking an entryway, and using a tool to break through a concrete panel. The contest will ask designers to build a single robot that performs all these tasks during several challenges, which will require
new designs in both robot hardware and control software.