Thursday, August 16, 2012

FLASHBACK: DARPA to Develop Humanoid Robot Systems (2012)

Another day. Another DARPA. Another DARPA story that is. This time the story is about DARPA's plan to develop humanoid robots to help with disaster relief.

The Department of Defense’s strategic plan calls for the Joint Force to conduct humanitarian, disaster relief and related operations. The plan identifies requirements to extend aid to victims of natural or man-made disasters and conduct evacuation operations. Some disasters, however, due to grave risks to the health and wellbeing of rescue and aid workers, prove too great in scale or scope for timely and effective human response. The DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) will attempt to address this capability gap by promoting innovation in robotic technology for disaster-response operations.

I remember this part of the Animatrix movie (click the link above to watch that movie). I believe it was in The Second Renaissance Part I when the humans decided to build humanoid robots to do its work. If a movie can be any guide to real life, then we know what will ultimately happen once these DARPA-bots are operational. They will fight humanity to the death!

The initial solicitation is outdated, but the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) webpage has updated information and it says the program is set to launch in October, 2012.


Solicitation Number:
Notice Type:
Special Notice
Added: Apr 12, 2012 8:47 pm

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Tactical Technology Office (TTO), intends to award a sole source contract to Boston Dynamics Inc. (BDI), of Waltham, Mass. For the contract, BDI will develop and build a set of humanoid robot systems for use by performers in both phases of the DARPA Robotics Challenge program. This effort will develop approximately 8 identical platforms consisting of two legs, torso, on board computing, two arms with hands, and a sensor head. BDI will deliver these robots to DARPA so they can be provided to the top software development teams based on the results of the Virtual Disaster Challenge. Boston Dynamics will also provide in the field support and as required maintenance to the delivered systems.

The U.S. Army under its Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin (PETMAN) program developed, with Boston Dynamics, a humanoid robot with advanced range of motion and strength. This effort was then the basis of work done by BDI under the DARPA DSO M3 program on a platform named Atlas to increase its mobility. These two efforts have combined to develop a one of a kind humanoid robot with state of the art capability. DARPA has been a lead researcher in ground robotics over the last few decades. In addition it has tracked developments in this area outside the agency. Of the few existing humanoid robots, BDI was deemed to be the sole viable supplier for providing the necessary robotic platform capability within the specified timeframe.

The proposed contract action is for supplies or services for which the Government intends to solicit and negotiate with only one source under authority of FAR 6.302-1 "Only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements." As the legged robot leader, Boston Dynamics Inc. possesses unique knowledge and capabilities required to carry out the required research effort. No other source would be capable of satisfying the requirements for an affordable end-to-end solution necessary to meet the Government's needs.

This notice of intent is not a request for competitive proposals and no solicitation is currently available. However, interested parties may identify their interest and capability to respond to the requirement. Responses received within forty-five (45) days after date of publication of this notice will be considered by the Government. Information received will be considered solely for the purpose of determining whether to conduct a competitive procurement. A determination by the Government not to compete this proposed effort on a full and open basis is solely within the discretion of the Government. Interested parties may identify their interest and capability to meet the requirements by submitting a white paper and past performance data by no later than 28 May 2012 to The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Attn: Mr. Christopher Glista, Contracts Management Office (CMO), 3701 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203-1714 or via email to Questions shall be submitted to the above email address.

Contracting Office Address:
3701 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, Virginia 22203-1714
Primary Point of Contact.:
Chris Glista

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