Japanese robot wins U.S. competition


A Japanese robot won a disaster-response robotics competition in Homestead, Florida, on Saturday.

The two-legged robot built by SCHAFT, a Japanese startup owned by Google Inc., scored 27 out of 32 points, beating its nearest rival by seven points.

A total of 16 teams took part in the two-day competition at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The contest was organized by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an arm of the U.S. Defense Department.

The aim was to build a robot that can stand in for humans when disaster strikes, such as at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The eight teams with the highest scores are eligible for DARPA funding to prepare for the finals next year. The winning team will get $2 million in prize money.