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2020/09/28 Subterranean Challenge Identifies Qualified Teams for Cave Circuit Virtual Competition

2020/09/28 Subterranean Challenge Identifies Qualified Teams for Cave Circuit Virtual Competition

DARPA’s Subterranean (SubT) Challenge will host its Cave Circuit Virtual Competition, which focuses on innovative solutions to map, navigate, and search complex, simulated cave environments November 17. Previously, DARPA held Tunnel Circuit and Urban Circuit events featuring both Virtual and Systems (physical) Competitions in which teams demonstrated their autonomy, networking, perception, and mobility capabilities in human-made tunnel and urban underground environments.

Qualified teams have until Oct. 15 to develop and submit software-based solutions for the Cave Circuit via the SubT Virtual Portal, where their technologies will face unknown cave environments in the cloud-based SubT Simulator. Until then, teams can refine their roster of selected virtual robot models, choose sensor payloads, and continue to test autonomy approaches to maximize their score. Each team’s simulated robots must navigate realistic caves, with features including natural terrain and dynamic rock falls, while they search for and locate various artifacts on the course within five meters of accuracy to score points.

The Cave Circuit also introduces new simulation capabilities, including digital twins of Systems Competition robots to choose from, marsupial-style platforms combining air and ground robots, and breadcrumb nodes that can be dropped by robots to serve as communications relays. Teams can leverage numerous practice worlds and even build their own worlds using the cave tiles found in the SubT Tech Repo.

“The new teams that qualified for the Cave Circuit Virtual Competition bring with them a diversity of technology approaches, backgrounds, and insights, which is very often a catalyst for innovation,” said Dr. Timothy Chung, program manager for the SubT Challenge in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. “We look forward to seeing how all of the teams, whether veterans or newcomers, address the challenges robots face in natural cave networks.”

The following teams have qualified for the Subterranean Challenge Cave Circuit Virtual Competition:

    • KANKANWADI PTY LTD, Australia
  • Andersons
    • MRSL Real-time Systems Lab
  • BARCS: Bayesian Adaptive Robot Control System (DARPA-funded)
    • Michigan Technological University/Michigan Tech Research Institute
  • COLLEMBOLA: Communication Optimized, Low Latency Exploration, Map-Building and Object Localization Autonomy (DARPA-funded)
    • Scientific Systems Company, Inc.
  • Coordinated Robotics
    • Coordinated Robotics
  • CTU-CRAS-NORLAB: Czech Technical University – Center for Robotics and Autonomous Systems – Northern Robotics Laboratory
    • Czech Technical University, Czech Republic
    • Université Laval, Canada
    • Jersey Media Network Corp.
  • Dynamo
    • Hilario Tomé, Spain
  • Flying Fitches
    • Sophisticated Engineering UG, Germany
  • Irgum
    • András Polgár, Hungary
  • Lizard & Dragonfly Robotics
    • Distek Integration, Inc.
    • Zone24x7 (Pvt) Ltd.
  • Map Quickly
    • Steven Gray
  • MARBLE: Multi-agent Autonomy with Radar-Based Localization for Exploration
    • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • NUS SEDS: National University of Singapore Students for Exploration and Development of Space
    • National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • 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
  • Smart Tools
    • Smart Tools Ltd.
  • SODIUM-24 Robotics
    • Malcolm Stagg

Cave Circuit self-funded Virtual teams may compete for the three top prizes, provided they finish in the top five overall ranking: $250,000; $150,000; or $100,000, respectively.

DARPA will host the Cave Circuit Virtual Competition Showcase and Awards Ceremony on Nov. 17 at 1400 EST. The Showcase will highlight the teams’ robot solutions to overcome diverse obstacles and traverse multiple virtual cave worlds, culminating in the Awards Ceremony with the announcement of the winners.

The Final SubT Event, planned for fall 2021, will include elements from all three subdomains (Tunnel, Urban, and Cave). The Systems and Virtual Competitions will take place concurrently, with DARPA-funded and self-funded teams competing side-by-side for final prizes in the respective competitions. Teams in the Systems Competition will compete for up to $2 million in the Final Event, whereas teams in the Virtual Competition will compete for up to $1.5 million.

For additional information on the DARPA Subterranean Challenge, please visit Please email questions to

Image Caption: SubT Challenge

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