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Tartan Rescue Team

CHIMP is the 3rd place winner of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, which drove the development of robots with human-like capabilities for disaster response.  CHIMP successfully completed eight tasks in less than 60 minutes.

NREC created the Tartan Rescue’s CHIMP robot in response to the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident. Either natural or man-made, disasters create situations that are too dangerous for human beings. Robots are needed to work in these human-engineered environments to inspect the facility, assess damage, and fix problems. Robots need to be able to handle the tools that are available at the disaster site, which were designed for humans.

CHIMP can open doors, turn valves, connect hoses, use hand tools, drive vehicles, clear debris, and climb stairs. These tasks are relatively easy for humans, but very difficult for robots. Performing them requires significant advances in perception, supervised autonomy, decision-making, mobility, dexterity, strength, and endurance.

The development of CHIMP brought new technology in the following areas:

  • Innovative robotic actuators
  • High degree-of-freedom planning
  • Perception
  • Mobility
  • Intelligent grasping and multiple-limb manipulation
  • User interface for sliding autonomy
  • Full body control and stability monitoring
  • GPS-free limb and body positioning
  • Multi-sensor world modeling and mapping
  • Collision free motion planning
  • Single and dual gripper manipulation drive joints


CHIMP took 3rd place overall in DRC Finals. On Day 1, CHIMP was the only robot able to finish all eight tasks under the 60-minute time limit. Also, due to its resilience, robustness and high-level of autonomy, CHIMP was the only robot able to get back up on its own after a fall during the DRC Finals.

This program was funded by the DARPA Tactical Technology Office.