KAIST Wins International Robotics Competition

From Chosum Ilbo:

Korea’s first humanoid robot, Hubo, wins international disaster relief robot competition

Team Kaist posed for a group photo in preparation for the DARPA Robotics Challenge on June 2, 2015 in Ponoma, California. DRC-Hubo is the latest version of Hubo. Hubo stands for "HUmanoid roBOt". Hubo has been developed since 2002. DRC-HUBO is the most powerful version among the previous Hubo series. The robot is redesigned to be more powerful and more capable. We rewrote the walking algorithm for the new design.  (Photo By: Sun L. Vega, DARPA)

Team KAIST’s DRC-HUBO posed for a photo in preparation for the DARPA Robitics Challenge in Pomona, California. DRC-HUBO is the most powerful version among the previous Hubo series.

Korea’s first humanoid robot ‘HUBO’ was crowned as the world’s best disaster relief robot.

On June 5th, Hubo won first place in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) at Fairplex in Pomona, California, after outperforming traditionally strong American, Japanese and German robotics teams. It was held by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that belongs to the US Department of Defense. The Korean team received 2 million dollars as a prize. “Running Man” of Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) won the second place and “Tartan Rescue” of Carnegie Mellon won the third.

DRC started in 2013 with a goal to develop robots that can replace humans in extreme environments such as the damaged nuclear plants in Fukushima in 2011. Arati Prabhakar, the head of DARPA, said, “A new challenge to overcome disasters for humanity has begun through the competition. All participants will make their software available to the public, so that anyone can freely use and improve it.”

24 teams participated in the final round of the DRC. For Korean teams, Ttolmang of Robotis, Ttolmang SNU of Seoul National University and Hubo of KAIST took part in the competition. On the 6th, Hubo successfully completed the eight tasks such as driving, opening a door, closing a valve and climbing stairs within 45 minutes, overwhelming other competing robots. Only Hubo, Running Man and Tartan Rescue were able to finish all eight tasks.

Hubo, created by Professor Oh Jun-ho in the mechanical engineering department at KAIST in December 2004, is Korea’s first bipedal robot. Most parts and software used in the robot were made by the KAIST team except for some sensors. Professor Oh developed “DRC Hubo 2”, a robot suitable for disaster environments for the competition. He said, “I’m proud that I was able to show our robot’s excellence by outperforming world-renowned American and Japanese research teams.”


For more details of the competition, please refer to the following articles.
How South Korea’s DRC-HUBO Robot Won the DARPA Robotics Challenge
DARPA Robotics Challenge: Amazing Moments, Lessons Learned, and What’s Next

Comments from Naver:

Congrats, Hubo~ When you return to Korea, don’t forget to wear a mask~


It’s great ^^


You did a great job. Congratulations!


Wow, it’s great. I want to see Hubo.


And there is not a single picture in this article. [Photos were added later.]


It’s great. They deserve applause since they won against German, Japanese and American teams. KAIST independently developed Hubo while the government did nothing for them. It was the second humanoid robot in the world. Germany that makes the best cars. Japan that makes the best robots and electronics. The US that makes the best software. KAIST beat teams from those countries. They made it 50 years after farmers were using ox carts in Korea.

blue**** [Responding to above]

How is Hubo is the world’s second humanoid robot?;; In Japan alone, there have been several. Even in Korea, it’s not the second one, is it?

kypa**** [Responding to kin8****]

The government did nothing? KAIST is a national university to begin with. The students receive national scholarships. The Hubo team receives 200 million won every year for 10 years. Geez.

3456**** [Responding to kin8****]

DRC is regarded as the world’s biggest robotics competition where even NASA, Lockheed Martin and MIT teams participate. Congratulations, Professor Oh for winning with pride.

penw**** [Responding to kin8****]

FYI, most prominent robotics companies or research centers (Boston Dynamics) in developed countries did not participate in this competition where they have to reveal all their technologies. There is no incentive for them to focus on the disaster relief area and the prize amount is meaningful only for small research teams. No major groups pay attention to it. The competition did not show the best of the robotics industry. DARPA simply wanted to promote interest in disaster relief robot research. Humanoid robots are not yet in the stage for commercial usage. If they can stably demonstrate basic tasks, it is considered the cutting-edge. Honda’s Asimo is famous. Those ones who have no reason to take part in the competition are the cutting-edge. The competition is just to motivate those who need to catch up. There is still a long way to go for the Korean teams to reach the top level.

skyc**** [Responding to penw****]

It is not a minor competition. Funny how you judge by the prize amount, keke. Then can you name any major competition? DRC is the one that showcases the best humanoid robot technologies.

han3**** [Responding to penw****]

If you don’t know jackshit, just stop your bullshit. Boston Dynamics belongs to the American military and they have almost alien technologies. Team SCHAFT who won last year’s competition were the ones who worked on the Asimo project. Except for those taken over by Google and Boston Dynamics, all world-renowned teams participated in this year’s competition. Whether it is unmanned vehicles or robots, fine tuning is important for competitions. It depends on who spends more time and effort. We should give applause to Professor Oh’s vision lab that made a nice comeback after last year’s defeat. He was talking with Google’s vice president last year. Who knows what will happen?

mukt**** [Responding to above]

It is true that the companies taken over by Google did not participate in the competition. Since it is still not a very profitable industry yet, university research teams are the cutting-edge.


In America and Japan, they get astronomical amounts of funds for research. I’m so proud of KAIST winning without much support!


Professor Oh, you’ve been digging a single well [focusing on one specialty]. You’ve finally made it. Congratulations. I hope you keep focusing on that one area instead of branching out.


Wow, how come an article like this doesn’t have many comments? ㅠㅠ I’m so proud of the Korean robot. Good work, KAIST researchers!! [The article ended up getting more than 800 comments later.]


Not surprised it was KAIST.

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  • lonetrey / Dan

    The future is coming! I seriously can’t wait for androids and robots from all those sci-fi movies. -sigh-

  • Outlook2Disqus

    Good Job!!!!!!!!

  • terriblemovie

    I’m really frustrated with how pessimistic certain Koreans are. They usually belong to the younger generation and lean to the left. Usually single, unemployed/financially struggling, and spends lots of time of the internet.

    They still believe South Korea is a 3rd world country, or that Japan makes the best electronics and robots, or that Korea is the only country in the world that cares about looks. Or that nordic countries have unlimited welfare for everyone. Or that everyone in the US is happily employed and rich. Or that North Korea would easily defeat the South Korean military and that we should surrender as soon as possible.

    These kids have never ever been outside of Korea or had a serious job, yet they believe anywhere is better than home.

    • David

      So do most people who have been everywhere. lol

      • rich carter

        that is the case for all the brain dead left wing liberals.

      • Chucky3176

        True to a certain extent. But South Koreans on the other hand when it comes to pessimism, they are in a class all by themselves. South Koreans voted that their country is the 117th happiest country in the world, worse than war torn Iraq and slightly better than Afghanistan who was dead last at 140th. What this country needs to do is to just kick off the shoes and just relax for few weeks doing nothing.

        • David

          Certainly replacing some of the false nationalistic pride with real pride and self confidence would Help. Quit driving the kids nuts in school and you will have fewer nutty adults. Perhaps weekends off could help.

  • commander

    The top prize for the KAIST team raises the hope for S. Korea’s advances in what is seen as a promising field in where robos could work in inhospitable conditons on behalf of humans.

    Kudos to S. Korea.

  • saint_pepsi

    Congrats, Korea.

  • Nigelboy

    What a joke. Korea ripped off and copied the Japanese robots. Japanese are the world’s best. Japan leads the robotic technology bar none, and Korea could only make a cheap copy. They can only bribe the judges. Koreans are the biggest liars and copy cats with an inferiority complex towards Japan. Koreans are jealous so they have to buy off the organizers. Nobody comes close to the Japanese in technology and creative thinking now matter how much you Koreans cheat. You Koreans are pathetic cheaters.

    • hi

      another peeping jap? the real pathetic one is……..

      • AKA troll_harder

        This sounds like the same Nigelboy who hates on anything Korean on Japantoday.com

        Reality causes him too much butt hurt…

    • AKA troll_harder

      Sounds like you are sick to your stomach with jealousy. Normally I don’t revile in others misery, but in your case… the next round is on me everyone (except you Nigel, you deserve your misery)! Bartender, I want a new bottle of Macallan 23 year stat on every table in the room!

      You should go back to Japantoday.com and keep on hanging out with Tina and the rest of your “buddies”… LOL

      • AKA troll_harder

        Typo… revel not revile…

    • Dave Park

      Certain technologies are worldly. TV’s, for example, at some point, companies are going to roll out very, very similar products. Same with smartphones.

      Fact of the matter is, you guys lost in this competition from what you may regard as a robot that was copied from an “original” Japanese one. But this robot outperformed yours and others to be number one. That’s the fact. It has ascended “your” initial design/programming from Korean minds and hands. They made it better.

      So, instead of being butt hurt and complaining about how you lost and how Koreans don’t have an original thought, if you’re a scientist/engineer, then make yours better for the next competition.

      Don’t be a sore loser.

  • KPKoreanPeninsula

    Great Work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Claude

    One day they’re will be a robot Ajuuma and Korea will be great!!!

    • Claude

      Opps, thats *Ajumma*. The Samsung Ajumma force 5000 coming to a department store near you.

  • commander

    It is praiseworthy for South Korea to demonstrate its technological prowess over other advanced competitors.

    What is worrisome is that those robotic scientists that took hom the top prize could continue their robotic research overseas.

    Specficially, if they study in the United States for a doctorate or in a post-doctor program, it often takes place that those talents decide to reside in the United States, lured by ample research funding and great discretion in choosing researching areas, without being encumbered by administrative workloads that they could face when they come back home and work at local universities.

    The rosy prospect for robotic research in South Korea, as evidenced by the top honor for the KAIST team, should be backed up by a policy of strong support ane a cultivation of next-generation of aspiring scientists.

  • Ideas2Disqus

    Positive Minded News from Korea. Good job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ThinkStraight

    Good job.

  • KP

    Great Job.

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