The Mini DRC event aims at providing a challenging environment for tele-operated robotics. Tele-operation is a mode of operation where a robot is controlled by a human operated that is located in a room with indirect line of sight of the playing field. This is different from remote-controlled robots, where the operator has direct line of sight of the robot and its environment. Since fully autonomous robots are still a blue sky research dream, tele-operated robots, that can blend advantages of human perception and reasoning with robot controlled motion is of great importance in avatar robots, rescue robots, and health robots.
In 2015, the Department of Defense of the United States through its advanced research department held a competition for tele-operated robots called the DARPA Robotics Challenge. In this challenge, a full sized humanoid robot had to complete a series of tasks including driving an open cab truck, open and close valves, use power tools, and walk up a set of stairs. Many of these challenges are already part of the FIRA Sport (HuroCup) competition. The Mini DRC competition is a scaled down version of the original DRC competition.
A single robot must first cross a set of obstacles. Afterwards, the robot has to cross an obstacle parkour, uneven terrain, and climb a ladder. In between, there are several additional challenges that require the robot to complete common rescue tasks using simulated equipment: turn a valve on and off, enter and leave through a door, push a button, weld a joint on a pipe, and rescue a victim.