Team VReeSense

15 European teams are among the 77 from 19 different countries that have qualified to compete for the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE. XPRIZE is the global leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges. Sponsored by All Nippon Airways (ANA), the ANA Avatar XPRIZE is a four-year global competition focused on “the development of an avatar system that will deploy the senses, actions, and presence of a human to a remote location in real-time, leading to a more connected world”.

Among the European participants are VReeSense and i-Botics from the Netherlands and Morpheus, NimbRo and Roboy from Germany. Most contestants are from Japan and the United States. Details about all advancing teams can be found here.

An independent panel of judges selected the competitors that are advancing from a field of 99 registered teams. In order to qualify, teams had to answer a series of questions that outline the expertise, capabilities, and plan for the functional avatar solution that each team intends to create. To win the competition, teams must integrate multiple emerging technologies to develop a physical, non-autonomous robotic avatar system that enables an operator to see, hear, and interact within a remote environment. Avatars must demonstrate the ability to remotely execute tasks across a variety of real-world scenarios and enable the operator to feel as if they are truly there while performing those tasks. In the future, avatar applications could help provide healthcare services and deploy immediate emergency response in natural disaster scenarios. The ANA Avatar XPRIZE challenges teams to stretch the boundaries of what is possible for supplying critical skills and knowledge remotely around the world.

Prize Director, David Locke, said, “At XPRIZE, we believe a breakthrough idea can come from anyone and anywhere. The incredible geographical diversity represented by the 77 teams moving forward will provide the unique perspectives necessary to develop transformative avatar technology capable of transcending physical limitations and expanding the capacity of humankind itself.”

The ANA Avatar XPRIZE was launched in 2018 at SXSW in Austin, Texas Later this year, up to 75 teams will be selected to progress to Semifinals testing where a prize purse of $2M will be split equally among the up to 20 teams selected to advance to the Finals round of testing. In early 2022, the $8M Finals prize purse will be divided among the top-ranked teams. $5M will be awarded for first place, $2M for second place, and $1M for third place. The Finals will include performance tests based on specific tasks that showcase the application of avatar technologies across several use case scenarios.

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.