For some not-so-giant Japanese robots, check out Schaft Inc.’s winner of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials 2013. (Schaft is a Japanese company recently purchased by Google). For a short overview, check out ABC’s coverage, and for a closer look at the competitors, check out Giz Mag‘s article.
DARPA says that the point of the competition is to provide a baseline from which to develop robotics for disaster response. Events such as the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster demonstrate that robots have a part to play in relief operations. The massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which not only damaged the reactors, but made it impossible for crews to respond in time. DARPA believes that robots that could navigate the ruins and work in radioactive environments would have been of great help. (Giz Mag)
A video of the tasks at hand: