Buddy the Robot learning to drive

Buddy the Robot learning to drive
RICHLAND, Wash. -- A group of ten people, including a PNNL worker and some college students, made Buddy the Robot.

He is just under 40 pounds and cost about $20,000 to make in less than a year's time. Buddy just recently tested out his skills in a DARPA trial session. The long term goal is to make Buddy able to assist with natural disaster recovery. So far, he can open and close doors, carry a hose, close valves, and climb a couple stairs. His next goals are to be able to drive a small vehicle, climb a ladder, and cut specific size holes with tools.

"So the thing we're most excited to change next year is to actually change it so that we can actually have something that is less expensive and is more durable than what we had last year," said PNNL researcher Karl Castleton.

Buddy scored a 0 during the trials because he was unable to complete the trials' tasks. But the real competition is in December. Karl plans to make Buddy's legs much sturdier by then.