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Robotiq Proud Contributor to Teams at the DARPA Robotics Challenge

Mathieu Bélanger-Barrette
by Mathieu Bélanger-Barrette. Last updated on May 05, 2016 4:21 PM
Posted on Jun 10, 2015 1:56 PM. 5 min read time

We are pretty stoked about the results of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. With two robots on the podium using our Grippers, we couldn't ask for more. Here's what happened during the competition.

Robotiq is proud that its 3-Finger Adaptive Gripper was chosen by 8 teams as an off the shelf hand for their robots. This competition was also a challenge for us, as our 3-Finger Gripper has been used for widely diverse tasks which require high flexibility and robustness: from driving a utility vehicle to drilling a hole in a wall, opening a door or closing a valve. With 8 teams out of 23 using our Gripper, Robotiq was the most widely used robot gripper in the competition. 

''We salute the DARPA DRC teams’ accomplishments. I am sure that we’ll look back at this event in the future as a turning point for our industry. We are proud that our robotic hands were successfully used to accomplish critical handling tasks for this challenge.''- Samuel Bouchard, CEO Robotiq inc.


Several steps of the competition depended on using the dexterity of the robots. The first was basically the driving stage where the robots had to drive an all-terrain vehicle through a simple course. Some of the robots used the Gripper to ''drive''. The next step using the Gripper involved opening a door. Here some robots where simply hitting the handle with their end-of-arm tool and some others where using their fingers. The robots then had to open a valve and drill a hole in a wall using a power tool. These two manipulation stages where critical to determining the difference in the competition standings. And last but not least the ''surprise'' stage which required manipulation wasn’t told to the teams until they arrived at the venue. The secret stage was a kill switch operation on Friday and an electrical plug disconnect/connect operation on Saturday. So out of a total of 8 possible points, 3 to 5 points where related to manipulation.


The competition finally ended with the Team KAIST robot from South Korea having the most points and the fastest time out of all the robots. With the top three teams scoring the maximum of 8 pts, it was the time difference that decided the winner. As 2 out of the 3 teams on the podium where using our Grippers, we feel proud that we could helped these teams, IHMC and TARTAN, accomplish their mission. 

Team IHMC Robotics was the second place winner with $1 million dollars in prize money and TARTAN Rescue (picture above), 3rd place with $1/2 a million dollars in prize money. 

"These robots are big and made of lots of metal and you might assume people seeing them would be filled with fear and anxiety. But we heard groans of sympathy when those robots fell. And what did people do every time a robot scored a point? They cheered! It's an extraordinary thing, and I think this is one of the biggest lessons from DRC—the potential for robots not only to perform technical tasks for us, but to help connect people to one another." - Gill PRatt DRC Organizer


Team KAIST  8 pts  44:28

Team IHMC Robotics  8 pts  50:26

TARTAN RESCUE  8 pts  55:15

Team NIMBRO RESCUE  7 pts 34:00

Team ROBOSIMIAN  7 pts  47:59

Team MIT  7 pts  50:25

Team WPI-CMU  7 pts  56:06

Team DRC-HUBO at UNLV  6 pts  57:41

Team TRAC Labs  5 pts  49:00

Team AIST-NEDO  5 pts 52:30

Team NEDO-JSK  4 pts  58:39

Team SNU  4 pts  59:33

Team THOR  3 pts  27:47

Team HRP2-TOKYO  3 pts  30:06

Team ROBOTIS  3 pts  30:23

Team VIGIR  3 pts  48:49

Team WALK-MAN  2 pts  36:35

Team TROOPER  2 pts  42:32

Team HECTOR  1 pts  02:44

Team AERO  0 pts  00:00

Team GRIT  0 pts  00:00

Team HKU  0 pts  00:00

Team VALOR  0 pts  00:00

Bold : Using Robotiq 3-Finger Adaptive Gripper

drc-2015-day-one-a-27We would like to thank all the teams that have used our Grippers for the challenge. It's been a long process for all the teams and sponsors to get to the final last weekend. I am sure that all the teams will finally get some well deserved rest since they have been going straight out for the last couple of months working day and night to make their robot meet as many exigencies as they could think of for the challenge. Regardless of team placement, I am sure that everyone enjoyed their experience. I would also like to mention that each and every robot improved a lot from the last contest in 2013. It is very interesting and stimulating to see the technology growing at such a fast rate. As the challenge is just finished, I think that there might be some other round coming along. If we look at the autonomous car challenge that DARPA also supported, it took 10 years to finally pass from the research lab to a wider commercial market. Hopefully this is what will happen with the DRC too, though I wouldn’t mind if it went faster. Can't wait to see what the future will bring to the robotic world or what the robotic world will bring to the future ;-).

Related links:

DARPA Videos

Innovative robotic r&d projects robotiq

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Mathieu Bélanger-Barrette
Mathieu is a production engineer at Robotiq, where he constantly strives to optimize the production line for Robotiq Grippers. He enjoys discovering new robotic applications and sharing what he learns on Robotiq's blog.
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