(DARPA)

DARPA Expands Prize Purse for Subterranean Challenge

Teams competing in the DARPA Subterranean (SubT) Challenge now have two additional opportunities for prize money at the Final Event. The Systems Competition has added a $1 million 2nd place prize and a $500,000 3rd place prize. The $2 million 1st place prize was announced previously. Prizes for the simultaneous Virtual Competition remain at $750,000, $500,000, and $250,000 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, respectively. The Final Event will be held at the Louisville Mega Cavern in Louisville, Kentucky on September 21-23, 2021 with a total of $5 million in prizes at stake.

The DARPA SubT Challenge was launched in 2018 to advance innovative technologies that can rapidly map, navigate, and search complex underground environments such as human-made tunnel systems, urban underground, and natural cave networks. Participating teams compete by demonstrating their autonomy, networking, perception, and mobility capabilities in representative subterranean competition courses.

The Final Event Competition Rules and Qualification Guide are now available on the SubT Challenge website. The qualification deadline for the Systems Competition is April 21 while the qualification deadline for the Virtual Competition is June 29, 2021.

“We look forward to re-engaging past participants and welcoming new teams for this exciting Final Event at the Louisville Mega Cavern,” said Dr. Timothy Chung, program manager for the Subterranean Challenge in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. “We’ve seen many great ideas inspired by this competition already, so I am eager to see what teams bring to the grand finale and how these technologies will ultimately benefit our warfighters and first responders.”

Over the last two years, three preliminary circuit events have been held – the Tunnel Circuit, Urban Circuit, and Cave Circuit. The Final Event will assess the agility and versatility of teams’ solutions by combining elements of all three subdomains into integrated competition courses.

More details – including all the new rules, newly added virtual robot models, and how to compete – can be found at the challenge’s website.

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