Workshop at Robotics: Science and Systems 2013 (June 28)

The ongoing DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) aims to solve some of the most challenging problems in robotics within the context of disaster response. These include walking on arbitrary terrain, getting in and out of vehicles, driving them, manipulating flexible objects. Remote assistance from a human operator is limited due to an unreliable link. Thus the robot must have considerable autonomy which is beyond the state-of-the-art in Robotics. The participating teams had 9 months to advance the state-of-the-art enough to make this possible, at least in simulation. The Virtual Robotics Challenge was held on June 18-20 and the results will be announced on June 27. The workshop will provide a venue for presenting this ongoing work, as well as discussing the most promising approaches that can be applied to physical robots in the subsequent phase of the DRC. The topics will include advances in perception, estimation, control, and human-computer interaction. More information about the DRC can be found at:

Video archive:

A recording of all talks will be available after the workshop HERE.
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Pieter Abbeel (UC Berkeley)
"Trajopt: Finding locally optimal, collision-free trajectories with sequential convex optimization"

Nicolas Mansard (LAAS-CNRS)
"Motion semiotics and European Challenges"

John Hsu (OSRF)
"Getting Gazebo to work for the VRC"

Stefan Schaal, Ludovic Righetti (USC and Max Planck Institute)
"The Sarcos/USC Guardian robot and software approach to the DARPA Robotics Challenge"

Katie Byl (UCSB)
"Point space, robot whispering, and quantitative robot autonomy"

Emo Todorov (UW)
"Model-predictive control with cost switching: Towards a universal control machine"

Patrick Beeson (TRACLabs)
"Human-in-the-loop decision making for the VRC: What worked, what did not, and why"

Maurice Fallon, Scott Kuindersma (MIT)
"An overview of MIT's Virtual Robotics Challenge approach"

RJ Linton (WPI)
"DARPA Robotics Challenge accepted: Challenges and opportunities of being an unfunded team"

Jerry Pratt (IHMC)
"A sampling of secret sauces from IHMC's Virtual Robotics Challenge approach"

Chris Atkeson (CMU)
"The crack of doom"

Workshop Organizers:

Emo Todorov, Chris Atkeson, Stefan Schaal, Jerry Pratt