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2020/01/10 DARPA Names Qualifiers for the Subterranean Challenge Urban Circuit

2020/01/10 DARPA Names Qualifiers for the Subterranean Challenge Urban Circuit

Seventeen teams have qualified to participate in the DARPA Subterranean (SubT) Challenge Urban Circuit. Eleven teams will compete in the Systems competition at Satsop Business Park in Elma, Washington, Feb. 18-27, 2020. Eight teams qualified to participate in the Virtual competition, which will run Jan. 23-30. Two teams will compete in both Virtual and Systems events.

The DARPA Subterranean Challenge seeks to better equip warfighters and first responders to explore human-made tunnel systems, urban underground, and natural cave networks, while decreasing risk to human lives. The SubT Challenge Systems and Virtual competitions aim to create a community of multidisciplinary teams from wide-ranging fields to foster breakthrough technologies in autonomy, perception, networking, and mobility for underground environments. The Tunnel Circuit took place in August 2019. The Cave Circuit is planned for August 2020, and the Final Event incorporating all three underground environments is targeted for August 2021.

To compete in the Systems competition, each team had to demonstrate baseline performance capabilities and appropriate safety measures. Teams in the Systems competition will deploy autonomous ground and aerial systems to attempt to accurately identify and map as many artifacts as possible along two competition courses. Each course will include 20 artifacts representing items a first responder or service member may encounter in an urban underground environment.

Qualified Virtual competitors will submit their solutions through the SubT Virtual Portal during the submission window. Selecting from a repository of robot models and a variety of sensors, each team can assemble an esports style solution to map, navigate, and search dark, dangerous, and unpredictable underground scenarios.

Prizes of $500,000 for first place, $250,000 for second place, and $100,000 for third place are available for top performers among self-funded teams in the Systems competition of the Urban Circuit. Self-funded Virtual teams may compete for one of three top prizes: $250,000; $150,000; or $100,000, respectively. DARPA-funded and self-funded teams compete side-by-side throughout the Subterranean Challenge. Only self-funded teams, however, are eligible for prizes in the circuit events. All qualified teams are eligible for prizes in the Final Event.

The following teams qualified for the Subterranean Challenge Urban Circuit are:

Systems and Virtual

  • Coordinated Robotics
    • Coordinated Robotics
    • California State University Channel Islands
    • Sequoia Middle School, Newbury Park, California
  • Robotika
    • Robotika International, Czech Republic and United States
    •, Czech Republic
    • Czech University of Life Science, Czech Republic
    • Centre for Field Robotics, Czech Republic
    • Cogito Team, Switzerland


  • CERBERUS: CollaborativE walking & flying RoBots for autonomous ExploRation in Underground Settings (DARPA-funded)
    • University of Nevada, Reno
    • ETH Zurich, Switzerland
    • Sierra Nevada Corporation
    • University of California, Berkeley
    • Flyability, Switzerland
    • Oxford Robotics Institute, England
  • CoSTAR: Collaborative SubTerranean Autonomous Resilient Robots (DARPA-funded)
    • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    • California Institute of Technology
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • KAIST, South Korea
    • Lulea University of Technology, Sweden
  • CSIRO Data 61 (DARPA-funded)
    • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia
    • Emesent, Australia
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • CTU-CRAS-NORLAB: Czech Technical University – Center for Robotics and Autonomous Systems – Northern Robotics Laboratory
    • Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic
    • Université Laval, Canada
  • Explorer (DARPA-funded)
    • Carnegie Mellon University
    • Oregon State University
  • MARBLE: Multi-agent Autonomy with Radar-Based Localization for Exploration (DARPA-funded)
    • University of Colorado, Boulder
    • University of Colorado, Denver
    • Scientific Systems Company Inc.
  • NCTU: National Chiao Tung University
    • National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan
    • National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan
    • K-Best Technology INC., Taiwan
  • NUS SEDs: National University of Singapore Students for Exploration and Development of Space
    • National University of Singapore
  • PLUTO: Pennsylvania Laboratory for Underground Tunnel Operations
    • University of Pennsylvania


  • AAUNO, Australia
  • BARCS: Bayesian Adaptive Robot Control System (DARPA-funded)
    • Michigan Technological University/Michigan Tech Research Institute, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • COLLEMBOLLA: Communication Optimized, Low Latency Exploration, Map-Building and Object Localization Autonomy (DARPA-funded)
    • Scientific Systems Company
    • Jersey Media Network Corp.
  • Flying Fitches, Germany
    • Sophisticated Engineering UG
  • SODIUM-24 Robotics
    • Malcolm Stagg

A media day will be held Feb. 24 at Satsop Business Park in Elma, Washington. Registration is open to journalists either working directly or freelancing for a recognized news organization. The deadline for registration is Jan. 17, and reporters will receive confirmation of credentials on or before Jan. 31.

Enrollment Website:

Additional teams may submit credentials to qualify for the upcoming Cave Circuit. Qualification requirements and competition rules can be found on the Resources tab of the Subterranean Challenge website.

Please email questions to

Image Caption: DARPA Subterranean Challenge


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