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Eleven Teams Qualify for the First of DARPA’s Subterranean Challenge Circuit Events

Eleven Systems teams and five Virtual teams have qualified to compete in the Subterranean Challenge Tunnel Circuit; additional teams may qualify for Virtual competition through June 10

Eleven teams from around the world will attempt to remotely map, identify, and report the greatest number of artifacts along the passages of a Pittsburgh research mine in the Subterranean Challenge Tunnel Circuit. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Mining Program manages the formerly operational mine, which will serve as the arena for the Systems event August 15-22, 2019.

The Tunnel Circuit is the first of three circuits in which teams will test their systems and sensors in physical, representative subterranean courses. The Urban Circuit will take place in February 2020, followed by the Cave Circuit in August 2020. The Final Event incorporating all three subdomains will be in August 2021.

Virtual competitions will take place concurrently with each of the physical competitions. In the virtual events, teams will develop software and algorithms using virtual models of systems, environments, and terrain to compete in simulation-based events.

The following teams have qualified to participate in the Tunnel Circuit:

BARCS: Bayesian Adaptive Robot Control System (Virtual)

  • Michigan Technological University/Michigan Tech Research Institute

CERBERUS: CollaborativE walking & flying RoBots for autonomous ExploRation in Underground Settings (Systems)

  • University of Nevada, Reno
  • ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Flyability, Switzerland

COLLEMBOLLA: Communication Optimized, Low Latency Exploration, Map-Building and Object Localization Autonomy (Virtual)

  • Scientific Systems Company, Inc.

Coordinated Robotics (Systems and Virtual)

CoStar: Collaborative SubTerranean Autonomous Resilient Robots (Systems)

  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • KAIST, South Korea

CRETISE: Collaborative Robot Exploration and Teaming In Subterranean Environments (Systems)

  • Endeavor Robotics
  • Neya Systems

CSIRO Data 61 (Systems)

  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia
  • Emesent, Australia
  • Georgia Institute of Technology

CTU-CRAS (Systems)

  • Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic
  • Université Laval, Canada

Explorer (Systems)

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Oregon State University

MARBLE: Multi-agent Autonomy with Radar-Based Localization for Exploration (Systems)

  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • University of Colorado, Denver
  • Scientific Systems Company, Inc.

Metastable (Virtual)

NCTU: National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan (Systems)

PLUTO: Pennsylvania Laboratory for Underground Tunnel Operations (Systems)

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Exyn Technologies
  • Ghost Robotics

Robotika (Systems and Virtual)

  • Robotika International, Czech Republic
  • Robotika.cz, Czech Republic
  • Czech University of Life Science, Czech Republic
  • Centre for Field Robotics, Czech Republic
  • Cogito Team, Czech Republic

DARPA will announce additional qualified teams for the Virtual competition of the Tunnel Circuit following the June 10 deadline. A new qualification scenario is available in advance of a Subterranean Autonomy tutorial May 24, 2019, at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Montreal. Teams that have previously submitted to the Virtual competition also are invited to refine or send new submissions. Teams may qualify using either the original qualification scenario or the new scenario, and attendance at the ICRA workshop is not required.

Teams interested in qualifying in the Virtual competition for the Tunnel Circuit must submit a team registration and create an account for the SubT Challenge Virtual Portal.

To qualify for future events for either the Systems or Virtual competitions in the SubT Challenge, teams may submit their qualification materials on a rolling basis. Requirements can be found in the SubT Challenge Qualification Guide. available on the Resources Page.

Interested teams also are encouraged to join the SubT Community Forum, where they can engage with other participants and ask questions.

Teams in the Systems competition will compete for up to $2 million in the Systems Final event, with up to $200,000 in additional prizes available for self-funded teams in each of the Systems Circuit events. Teams in the Virtual competition will compete for up to $1.5 million in the Virtual Final event, with additional prizes of up to $500,000 for self-funded teams in each of the Virtual Circuit events.


Learn more about the history and the reason behind DARPA Grand Challenges.