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Robotics

— Drones Feature

Video: The fast and furious world of underground drone racing

Chad Nowak describes himself as an aviation nutter. For 25 years he's been flying remote controlled aircraft and full-sized sail planes, fuelled by a fascination for anything that glides through the air. But this interest went up a notch when he came across a Youtube video of an emerging sport known as FPV (first person view) drone racing. Fast forward 12 months and his home in Queensland, Australia, is covered in half-built quadcopters and loose parts. Last weekend, Nowak flew to Melbourne to take on like-minded racers in an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of the city.

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— Robotics

Robots square off at the 2015 DRC Finals

A sporting event where a contestant opens a door, promptly falls on their face, and then stands up again sounds like less than riveting, but on Friday some 10,000 people at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, cheered and screamed encouragement as exactly that happened. Of course, the fact that the contender was a robot called Tartan Rescue and the competition was the first day of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Final 2015 had something to do with it. Aimed at creating robots that may one day help responders during major disasters, the two-day Challenge is host to 23 international teams competing for US$3.5 million in prizes.

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— Robotics

DARPA's new robotics program aims to harness the power of individuals and small businesses

DARPA has announced a new program designed to harness expertise from smaller sources of innovation, routinely overlooked by large agencies. Looking to small businesses and individuals, the agency hopes to undertake a series of cost-effective projects that will deliver new robotics capabilities to warfighters, helping to keep them ahead of the technological curve.

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