ANA Avatar XPrize to accelerate the development of a multi-purpose avatar system that will enable us to remotely see, hear, and interact with physical environments and other people
XPrize Founder and Executive Chairman Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, in partnership with ANA, announced the launch of the $10M ANA Avatar XPrize, a four-year global competition to develop real-life avatars. With registration opening today, teams around the world are challenged to accelerate the development of a multi-purpose avatar system that will enable us to remotely see, hear, touch and interact with physical environments and other people through an integrated robotic device.
Robot avatars have been a sci-fi staple for decades, letting fictional humans remotely carry out delicate and dextrous tasks, from hospital care to mining on the Moon. But, as usual, our imagination outstrips reality. The best commercially available “avatars” are telepresence bots, which are little more than iPads on wheels, while cutting-edge humanoid robots look flashy but struggle to keep their balance.
Sponsored by ANA, Japan’s only 5-star airline, the winning team of the ANA Avatar XPrize will combine state-of-the-art technologies to demonstrate a robotic avatar that allows an untrained operator to complete a diverse series of tasks, from simple to complex, in a physical environment at least 100km away. Avatars must demonstrate the ability to execute tasks across a variety of real-world scenarios. ANAIn the future, avatar applications could help provide critical care and deploy immediate emergency response in natural disaster scenarios, stretching the boundaries of what is possible, and maximizing the impact of skill and knowledge-sharing.
The deadline for teams to register through the XPrize website is October 31, 2018. Teams must submit a complete competition plan to an independent panel of expert judges by January 31, 2019.
Speaking to The Verge, XPrize Foundation CEO Marcus Shingles said the goal was to create a truly multipurpose robot. We’ve already developed robots for specialized tasks like deep-sea mining and moving patients around hospitals, but the hard part is creating a machine that can take on a variety of tasks — just like a human.
Two milestone competitions will take place in April 2020 and April 2021, respectively, during which all teams will compete for a $1M prize purse each year. The $8M grand prize will be awarded in October 2021. In a first for XPrize, any team who believes they have achieved the competition goals may call for the finals to be held early. The five-day finals will include performance tests based on specific tasks that showcase the application of avatar technologies across several use case scenarios.
The ANA Avatar XPrize originated from XPrize’s six-month concept incubator program, called Visioneers, in 2016, led by scientist Dr.2 Harry Kloor (Ph.D., Ph.D.), where the ANA Visioneers team first proposed the avatar concept. This concept received top honors at the Visioneers Summit finale and was qualified as “ready for launch” by a group of 250 mentors including prominent corporate and political leaders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, artists, technologists and scientists.
Image: robotic hand by digitalwideresource