Autonomous robots prepped for cave search and rescue mission

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Sebastian Scherer, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Team Explorer Co-Lead & Associate Research Professor for the Robotics Institute, talks about the teams upcoming DARPA SubT (Subterranean) Challenge Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (Pam Panchak/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — After practicing in a former limestone mine and an abandoned hospital outside of Pittsburgh, a fleet of robots from Carnegie Mellon University is headed to Kentucky for the final test of the ability to autonomously navigate an uncertain, underground course.

The challenge: Collect as many objects as possible in one hour while navigating a cave in Louisville, Kentucky.

The goal: Create autonomous robots to help with search and rescue missions for military and first responders.

The kicker: There’s only one operator and a fleet that could include a dozen robots, so the machines must be able to move and make decisions on their own.

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