This story is over 5 years old.

Watch These Rescue Robots Fail to Rescue Anything

Robots can’t handle disaster tasks, or, as we know them, regular person tasks.
June 6, 2015, 12:00pm
Image: DARPA

If you've ever watched a baby try to open doors or get up some stairs, watching robots try and fail to do the same is almost as cute.

DARPA, the US government's research and development arm for emerging military tech, kicked off its robotics challenge finals in Pomona, California today. The competition, which pits 23 teams of engineers and their robots against one another on an obstacle course of natural and manmade disasters includes a variety of tasks, such as:


  • Drive a vehicle to the course

  • Exit the vehicle

  • Open a door

  • Cut a circle out of a plaster wall and push it through

  • Rotate a circular valve 360 degrees

  • Pull a lever

  • Navigate the robot through rubble—without falling

  • Get up some stairs

Easier said than done for an able human, but much harder for a bundle of wires and metal programmed to move like a person through a complicated three-dimensional space—and totally rife for fail GIFs. Here are a couple Kodak moments for those times when you just feel like giving up:

Go home robot you're drunk.


Nailed it.

On the occasion that the robots finish a task, they'll be awarded with one point and a flashy banner.

First place winners of the robotics competition, announced tomorrow at 7 p.m., will get $2 million, while two runners-up will receive $1 million and $500,000.

The remainder of the challenge is being livestreamed, and will end on June 6. DARPA has archived all livestream footage of the competition on their website if you're in the mood for more.