A Spaniard is the winner of the world's first major robotics prize, awarded by the American agency DARPA. The winner is robotics engineer Hilario Tomé. With the prize, worth $750,000, he has created the company Keybotic, which is developing the first truly autonomous four-legged robot for industrial applications. This robot can be sold and rented (Robot as a Service) at an affordable price by any company.
Tomé participated in the DARPA Subterranean Challenge competition. The aim of this competition is to award the best technological solution that demonstrates that the robot is fully autonomous and that it can find all kinds of objects or survivors in underground galleries, tunnels and caves. In addition, the robot must coordinate with other robots to perform the tasks in the competition.
The test started four years ago, but Tomé joined the competition only two years ago and managed to overcome all the obstacles with his Dynamo project. Tomé has won alone against teams from the world's most prestigious universities in robotics. It should be noted that DARPA created the tunnels, caves and underground galleries specifically for this competition.
With the prize already won, Tomé is moving forward with the project to create his company, Keybotic, which has been started within the Barcelona Activa incubator. It is a company that develops its own technology for the creation of the first truly autonomous four-legged robot with immediate application in companies. Keybotic will launch its first prototype in March next year and is already planning to carry out pilot tests in different companies and institutions.
This robot will be able, completely autonomously and without human interaction, to create 3D maps, carry out inspections in spaces with potential risk to people, facilitate logistics in different industries, and support the surveillance of large surfaces, among other applications. It can also be used to search for people in landslides or dangerous areas without the need for a rescue team to enter.
DARPA is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency created by the US government in 1958. The best known project developed by this agency was the ARPANET, the forerunner of today's internet.
DARPA has held three robotics competitions, including the one won by Hilario Tomé. The first was to encourage the development of autonomous cars; the second in rescue robotics in the wake of the Fukushima disaster; and the last focused on the autonomy of robotics in dangerous and difficult-to-access spaces.