South Korean team wins $2M in disaster-response robot challenge

POMONA, Calif. (AP) – A South Korean team has won a three-year U.S. contest to create a robot capable of helping in disaster response conditions that are unsafe for humans.

Team Kaist of Daejeon took home $2 million in prize money for its DRC-Hubo robot after the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals ended Saturday in Pomona, California.

The contest by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency started after the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.

Workers couldn’t vent hydrogen from the overloaded reactors without enduring excess radiation.

Team IHMC Robotics of Pensacola, Florida, finished second, winning $1 million for its robot Running Man. Tartan Rescue of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and its robot CHIMP came in third, winning $500,000.

The 23 international teams’ robots were timed while navigating eight tasks they’d likely encounter in emergency scenarios.

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