The Global Robotics Competition focused on developing technology that allows people to travel the world via an avatar is set to take place at its final event in Long Beach this weekend.
The ANA Avatar XPRIZE competition challenged 17 teams from 10 countries to develop virtual robotic avatar systems that can perform tasks and replicate a human’s senses, actions, and presence in a remote location in real time, leading to a more connected world, according to the competition’s website. .
To compete for prizes of $8 million, teams must demonstrate the ability of avatars to perform missions across a variety of real-world scenarios and convey a sense of presence to both the operator and recipient in those interactions.
The event, which is free to attend, will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, November 4 and 5, at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd.
“There has never been a competition like this that has brought this kind of robotics technology together,” said David Luke, Senior Program Manager at ANA Avatar XPRIZE.
XPRIZE – a global organization that sponsors competitions to help develop technologies that can solve problems and positively impact the world – began the competition for the world-traveling avatar in 2018, with All Nippon Airways, Japan’s largest five-star airline, as The main company sponsor.
Brainstorming a new airline business model, XPRIZE and ANA have partnered to nurture innovative technology that can move people around the world in a new way.
“Whether people want to connect with someone or have a business meeting, (ANA) knows that people will not always want to be on planes because they are expensive and take a lot of time,” Locke said. “So if they have a robot that they can access somewhere all over the world and they have this real sense of presence that they feel as if they are where that robot is, it eliminates the need to get on a plane.”
Those attending this weekend event will have a chance to watch the finalists finish off the four-year competition by completing a series of complex tasks over a specially designed test cycle as they push the boundaries of immersive telepresence technology – a mix of robotics, virtual reality, haptics and more.
Locke said that when the competition first took off, the public didn’t fully understand the need for avatar technology, but the coronavirus pandemic changed that.
“Even though it was horrific,” Locke said, “it opened our minds a lot,” in terms of “what these avatars can be used for.”
These uses include making connections, exploring the world, and transferring skills – the three main areas in which teams will test their avatars for the final competition.
The Finalists They hail from Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Singapore, Japan, Mexico, Germany, France, South Korea, and the United States.
The two-day event will feature backstage areas to watch competitors prepare their avatar bots for the final test rounds, which will be XPRIZE’s first public test in 20 years.
“It’s exciting to see the different approaches that these teams are taking,” Locke said. “Everyone has a completely different approach to developing these avatar systems.”
Spectators will also be able to meet innovators, entrepreneurs, and engineers from current and past XPRIZE competitions, experience technology at the hands-on interactive technology fair, and watch the grand awards ceremony live.
There will be about 20 different exhibitors at the tech avatar gallery, including ANA, Cal State Long Beach, WEART — a startup in robotics and haptics — and more.
“It’s not just sitting there and watching these teams compete for the prize, but you can actually get involved and play with this technology and try it and understand what it’s capable of and prepare for it comes down to the market because eventually it’s going to happen,” Locke said.
“It’s the first of its kind ever; it’s going to be one of the largest groups of robotics ever, and it’s taking place right here in Long Beach,” he added.
If people are unable to attend the event in person, the contest live broadcast will be available in the contest website.
For more information about the ANA Avatar XPRIZE Final Event, visit xprize.org.
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