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DARPA’s Robotics Challenge Narrows The Field To Eight Finalists

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SCHAFT robotDARPA’s Robotics Challenge, where teams compete to design and develop disaster response robots,
kicked off in June, with the software-based Virtual Robotics Challenge. For this first phase, teams create software and ran it on a robotic simulation. The challenge has now moved from virtual to physical, and the trials have just wrapped up, leaving a field of eight finalists that will compete in the Grand Challenge next year. In case you were wondering, the winner walks away with $2 million in prize money.

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Hybrid Plane Might Be The Answer To Faster Disaster Relief

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hybrid aircraft

In the wake of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan, countries such as the U.S. and Japan have attempted to get aid to the Filipino residents who are injured, displaced, and/or in need of food and water. The problem, though, is that the aid can’t get there fast enough. Even after the Tacloban airport reopened, planes can only land there intermittently, due to restrictions on the number of flights allowed in and out. Fuel shortages and other logistical difficulties, including damage to the airport itself, are also hampering relief efforts. Over the past week, headlines have generally looked like this: “Nothing Is Happening.” So while people continue to try and find ways into the devastated cities, others are looking further into the future to identify strategies for preventing a bottleneck of disaster relief. One idea getting a lot of consideration right now is a hybrid aircraft.