Robots built for the contest must be able to use a number of human tools and move as humans would in similar scenarios when completing the required tasks. Teams can use an operator or a number of operators to supervise the robot during the challenges, and the robot should be untethered, although DARPA will accept robots that are tethered to a power source during the challenges.
Operators must communicate with the robots, such as to give commands or data, via an 802.11n at 5GHz wireless link, although DARPA may change the wireless communications method as the contest nears, the agency said.
Those interested in participating in the challenge can do so via one of four tracks (A,B,C, and D), according to DARPA, which is encouraging participation from as wide a field of competitors as possible -- including universities, businesses, and individual inventors -- and will provide equipment to those who need it.
Competitors in Track A can propose to develop their own robotics systems, including both hardware and software, while those in Track B can develop the control software only for the robot and compete to perform using a government furnished equipment (GFE) simulator. The GFE simulator includes a human-sized robotic system. DARPA expects to fund five teams for the A track and 12 teams for the B track.
Track C allows competitors to develop control software at their own expense and also to compete for a spot in the challenge by using a GFE simulator. Additionally, DARPA will provide cloud-computing resources for up to 100 teams that submit proposals for this track.
Finally, teams can enter the contest via Track D and develop a complete robotics system at their own expense. If it passes an initial qualification, the robot can compete on equal footing with DARPA-funded contest entries.