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Seventeen finalist teams competed at the final testing event in the greater Los Angeles area to demonstrate human-operated robotic avatar systems that perform tasks remotely
LONG BEACH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–XPRIZE, the global leader in incentive competitions dedicated to solving mankind’s greatest challenges, has announced NimbRo of Bonn, Germany as the team that won the grand prize of $5 million US Dollar Wins Four Years Global ANA Avatar XPRIZE. NimbRo’s technology was selected by a panel of judges at the conclusion of a public testing event at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in California on November 5th.
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XPRIZE, ANA and winning team, NimbRo (Photo: Business Wire)
Additionally, Pollen Robotics of Bordeaux, France, and Team Northeastern of Boston, Mass., were announced as the second and third prize winners, claiming $2 million and $1 million, respectively. The winning teams integrated several new technologies to create a physical robotic avatar system that allows the operator to see, hear, and interact with objects in a remote environment, transporting the operator as if they were actually there.
Sponsored by All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest five-star airline, for nine consecutive years, the ANA Avatar XPRIZE contest worth 10 million, action and presence at a remote location in real time. These avatars, also known as telepresence systems, enable people to use their skills in critical situations over large spatial distances.
Of the 99 teams from around the world that registered in 2018, 17 teams from 10 countries were selected to compete in front of a live audience of more than 2,100 people during the two-day event. The physical robotic avatar technologies were tested on specific tasks that assessed their ability to interact with humans, explore new environments, and use special abilities. The event was also livestreamed, allowing thousands to see the advancements in this emerging technology space.
“NimbRo’s work demonstrates the remarkable potential of avatar technology to transcend time and distance and help address pressing human challenges, from access to healthcare to disaster relief,” said Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE. “The final test event was an exciting opportunity to share the power of telepresence with thousands of people in person and around the world. We thank all participating teams for their impressive work and efforts to boldly push technological boundaries.”
“The ANA Avatar XPRIZE demonstrates the power of avatar technology and its ability to empower our society and improve lives,” said Junko Yazawa, Executive Vice President of ANA. “These innovations, exemplified by the work of NimbRo and the other finalists, are a huge step forward in our goal of creating a more connected world.”
“Telepresence and avatar technology will be an integral part of human advancement for decades to come,” said David Locke, Executive Director, ANA Avatar XPRIZE. “Through the ANA Avatar XPRIZE, in the last few days we have seen a leap forward in this area of technology that will change the way people connect in the future. XPRIZE is proud to be a driving force behind these remarkable innovations.”
The Long Beach meeting was the first public testing event of XPRIZE since the Ansari XPRIZE in 2004.
For more information on the ANA Avatar XPRIZE, finalist teams and ANA, visit avatar.xprize.org. Pictures and videos from the event can be found here and on XPRIZE’s YouTube.
XPRIZE is a global forward-thinking movement delivering truly radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. XPRIZE inspires and empowers a global community of problem solvers to positively impact our world through crowdsourcing solutions through large-scale competitions and addressing the world’s greatest exploration, environmental and human capital challenges. Active competitions include the $100M XPRIZE Carbon Removal with Elon Musk, the $15M XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion, the $10M XPRIZE Rainforest, the $10M ANA -Avatar XPRIZE, the $5M XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling and the $1M Digital Learning Challenge. Donate, sign up or join a team at xprize.org.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) was founded in 1952 with just two helicopters and has grown to become Japan’s largest airline. ANA HOLDINGS Inc. (ANA HD) was established in 2013 as the largest holding company of an airline group in Japan, comprising 69 companies including ANA and Peach Aviation, the leading LCC in Japan. For more information, visit: https://www.ana.co.jp/group/en/.
avatarin, Inc. was founded on April 1, 2020 as ANA Holdings’ first startup with a mission to expand human potential by offering new capabilities through avatars. avatarin is focused on developing a next-generation mobility services platform that enables anyone to connect, communicate and collaborate with others remotely by connecting to a remote robotic avatar. The use of robotic avatars around the world will help overcome the problem of physical distance to solve many of the world’s global challenges.
Arnaud Cahen, XPRIZE, [email protected]
Johanna Jones, JSJ Communications, [email protected]