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Flying robots sat out bad weather or found creative ways to crash in their failed mission to win the U.S. military's $100,000 prize for a homegrown drone.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched its "UAVForge" competition as an experiment to see if the do-it-yourself spirit of the crowd could design, build and fly a backpack-size drone for scouting tomorrow's battlefields. DARPA wanted the drones to show that they could take off vertically, land on a structure for a "perch-and-stare" mission like overgrown robot insects, and nimbly dodge obstacles.
More than 140 teams and 3,500 individuals from around the world submitted drone designs online and voted for their favorite ideas. But none of the nine finalist teams that flew their robots at a "fly-off event" at Fort Stewart in Georgia ended up claiming the prize.