Hilario Tomé, a computer engineer graduated from FIB, has won the world's most prestigious robotic award by the American agency DARPA

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The 35-year-old computer engineer from Barcelona has created a robot able to save lives in thousands of meters underground, even in underground passageway, tunnels and caves.


Tomé has won the ‘Subterranean Challenge’ competition, from September 21 to 24 in Kentucky. The competition recognizes its project called Dynamo as the best technological solution to the construction of a robot with full range up to 12 kilometers, which can be coordinated with other robots, and which can find all kinds of objects or survivors in underground passageway, tunnels and caves. Tomé joined the competition two years ago, although the competition started four years ago. He has gotten to surpass other teams formed by the most prestigious universities in the world. He used the award, endowed with $750,000 to create the Keybotic Company based in Barcelona, which is part of Barcelona Activa business incubator.

Keybotic already has two hired people and they want to reach a team of 10 people by the end of the year. Keybotic plans to launch the first four legging and autonomous robot prototype for industrial applications in March next year. This robot can be rented or purchased at an affordable price to any interested company.

As Tomé explains in the radio interview on Rac 1 radio station, building robots has been his passion since age 12 and he tells us, "We need to imagine some kind of dog without head. The robot must hold on four legs because it is extremely difficult only on two. The robot makes a three-dimensional map of the environment, analyzes it, understands it and decides actions. But he must work with coordination, sharing the tasks with other robots to locate people or objects".

DARPA is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an American government agency that makes investments in projects in innovative technologies for national security, like NASA for technological applications. DARPA in SubTchallenge encourages the participation of multidisciplinary teams around the world to approach perception, networks and mobility technologies necessary to map underground networks. To attract more participants, SubTChallenge includes a physical system competition and a virtual competition.