Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Robotics on a mission

As nations come together in Tokyo next summer to celebrate the spirit of human potential in the 2020 Olympic Games, they will have a chance to take part in another international competition hosted by Japan soon after, this time with challenges designed for robot contenders.

The World Robot Summit, which will take place during two main events in August and October next year, will test the potential of robots in a range of challenging competitions. We spoke with Satoshi Tadokoro from Tohoku University, who is leading the disaster robotics competition. A preliminary version leading up to this competition was held in 2018 (pictured) and findings were recently reported1.

A mobility task in the 2018 preliminary Disaster Robotics Challenge. Credit: Hiroko Tadokoro


  1. 1.

    Tadokoro, S. et al. Adv. Robot. (2019).

  2. 2.

    Special Issue on the DARPA Grand Challenge. J. Field Rob. 23, 461–835 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Liesbeth Venema.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Venema, L. Robotics on a mission. Nat Mach Intell 1, 381 (2019).

Download citation


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing