Friday, May 28, 2010

10K Race for Robots Over Obstacle Course: W. Prize Offers 200,000 Dollars for Successful Demo

The “W” Prize is a prize of at least US$200,000 that is being offered for successful demonstration of unprecedented efficiency and dexterity in machine locomotion over a 1 kilometer course for 10 repetitions in 10,000 seconds with no more than 10 kJ/kg of machine mass.  If you are interested in competing for the W Prize, then the Referees Committee would like to  hear from you through e-mail to

It is intended to stimulate advances in the state of the art, and to focus energy upon practical applications.  Additional objectives are to attract public attention, and to encourage participants to have some good fun.  The rules are designed to exercise walking  machines, but if another type of machine is better able to complete the task, then so be it!  Visit the W. Prize for a complete set of the rules and description of the course and requirements.

 Walking Robots
Image credit: W. Prize

The essence of the task is to travel 10 km in no more than 10,000 seconds while using no more than 10  kJ per kg of machine mass - and occasionally surmounting obstacles which would stand in the way of  ordinary wheeled vehicles, but could easily be negotiated by a pedestrian.  The obstacles are shown in  Figure 1.  The course is designed to be economically replicable at most universities worldwide, so that  entrants may compete for the Prize at the time and place of their choosing.  Obstacles are therefore made more sparse and regular than on truly rough terrain, and some rules are imposed to prevent  competitors taking undue advantage of artificiality.

Image credit: W. Prize

Interpretation of the rules, specification of additional rules, and adjudication of attempts on the Prize  will be at the sole discretion of a committee of three referees.  The referees will hold the Prize money in  an escrow account, accumulating interest and contributions from sponsors, until the Prize is awarded.

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