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DARPA Tests Autonomous Techs Ahead of Subterranean Challenge

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency hosted the SubT Integration Exercise that gathered local and international teams to test autonomous air and ground systems for navigating underground areas. DARPA said Monday that the event in Idaho Springs, Colo., marked the initial phase of its Subterranean Challenge intended to provide service members and first responders with new technologies to map, navigate and search underground environments. 

STIX involved nine teams of universities and companies from Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, South Korea, Switzerland and the U.S. Each team demonstrated how their technologies could locate objects within tunnels during complex scenarios that a warfighter or first responder would experience. DARPA plans to conduct three other tests that will focus on tunnels, underground urban environments and natural cave networks. Tests at the first tunnel circuit will begin in August. Interested parties can still submit proposals to join the competition.