Semifinalist Teams Selected in $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE Competition
38 semifinalist teams from 16 countries will aim to create an avatar system that can transport human presence to a remote location instantly.
Sponsored by All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest airline, the Avatar XPRIZE is a four-year global competition focused on the development of an avatar system that will deploy a human’s senses, actions, and presence to a remote location in real time, leading to a more connected world. These avatars must demonstrate the ability to execute tasks across a variety of real-world scenarios and convey a sense of presence for both the operator and the recipient in those interactions. In the future, avatars could help provide critical care and deploy immediate responses in emergency situations, or offer opportunities for exploration and new ways of collaboration, stretching the boundaries of what is possible and maximizing the impact of skill and knowledge sharing.
“We are rapidly approaching an era where it will be possible for a doctor in New York to export their skillset virtually to respond to a natural disaster across the globe,” said Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE. “The task at hand for these incredible semifinalist teams competing in the ANA Avatar XPRIZE is to break through physical limitations and expand the capacity of humankind itself through transformative robotic avatar technology.”
In February 2021, qualified teams completed their semifinalist selection submissions—the second round of technical submissions for evaluation by the judging panel. Each team submitted a comprehensive write-up detailing their avatar system's capabilities and their development plans, accompanied by a demonstration video showcasing their technology in action. The judges extensively reviewed the submissions and selected 38 semifinalists to advance out of the field of 77 qualified teams.
The ANA Avatar XPRIZE semifinalist teams are:
· 1to1Robotics, Hackensack, New Jersey, United States
· Aham, Bangalore, India
· Augnition, Helsinki, Finland
· AvaDynamics, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
· Avatar Quest, San Jose, California, United States
· AVATRINA, Urbana, Illinois, United States
· BellContinuous, Arlington, Texas, United States
· Cyberselves, Sheffield, United Kingdom
· Dragon Tree Labs, Moscow, Russia
· ENZO AVATAR, Bucaramanga, Colombia
· Forged Droids, Tempe, Arizona, United States
· GITAI, Tokyo, Japan
· H2L, Tokyo, Japan
· Human Fusions, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
· i-Botics, Utrecht, Netherlands
· iCub, Genoa, Italy
· Inbiodroid, Irapuato, Mexico
· Janus, Tsukuba, Japan
· Junnichi Suko, Tokyo, Japan
· Kimaera Dynamics, Toronto, Canada
· Last Mile - small world project 2, Osaka, Japan
· Limitless, Lugano, Switzerland
· NimbRo, Bonn, Germany
· Pollen Robotics, Bordeaux, France
· proRobot, Vysoké Mýto, Czech Republic
· Rezilient, St. Louis, Missouri, United States
· Robot Guru (HoloSuit), Mysuru, India
· Robotics Services LLC, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
· Roboy, Munich, Germany
· Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy
· SYNAPSE, Tokyo, Japan
· Team Northeastern, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
· Team SNU, Ulsan, South Korea
· Team UNIST, Seoul, South Korea
· Telexistence, Tokyo, Japan
· Touchlab, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
· Virtual Sapiens, Chennai, India
· X-Presence, Kobe, Japan
Additional details about all competing teams can be found here (https://bit.ly/3dxMSOq).
“The breakthroughs that will develop out of the ANA Avatar XPRIZE have the potential to entirely reimagine the human experience,” said David Locke, Executive Prize Director of ANA Avatar XPRIZE. "We’re thrilled to announce the semifinalist teams and are excited to put their technologies to the test, and experience their ability to transport our sense of presence, during semifinals testing this fall.”
“Now that the semifinalist teams have been chosen, we are one very important step closer to realizing our dream of revolutionizing human connection,” said Mitsuo Tomita, Senior Vice President of Marketing at All Nippon Airways. “As a company whose mission it is to connect people, we are beyond excited to see the technology that will be developed by these 38 teams. We are eager to see the innovative ways in which the teams will light up our imaginations with visions of a future in which travel and human connection are limitless.”
After the completion of semifinals testing in Fall 2021, up to 20 teams will equally split a Semifinals prize purse of $2M and move on to finals testing in Summer 2022. There, they will compete to win a share of the $8M finals prize purse.
The grand prize will be awarded in June 2022 after finals testing, which will include performance tests based on specific tasks that showcase the application of avatar technologies across several use case scenarios. The winning team will integrate multiple emerging technologies to develop a physical, nonautonomous avatar system with which an operator can see, hear, and interact within a remote environment in a manner that feels as if they are truly there.
The ANA Avatar Advisory Board has been integral in the competition since its launch in January 2019. The group consists of esteemed robotics experts, haptics inventors, psychology professors, top entertainment researchers, virtual world creators, computer vision dynamos and more. The full list of experts can be found below with additional information and bios available here (https://bit.ly/2QZgLPZ).
For more information on the ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the semifinalist teams, and ANA, please visit avatar.xprize.org.
XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. Active competitions include the $100 Million XPRIZE Carbon Removal with Elon Musk, $20 Million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, $15 Million XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion, $10 Million XPRIZE Rainforest, $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, $5 Million IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, $5 Million XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling and $1M Digital Learning Challenge. For more information, visit xprize.org.
Founded more than 60 years ago in 1952 with just two helicopters, All Nippon Airways (ANA), has become the largest airline in Japan, serving 46 international destinations and 50 domestic destinations.
ANA HOLDINGS Inc. (ANAHD) was established in 2013 as the largest airline group holding company in Japan comprised of 78 companies including ANA and Peach Aviation Limited, the leading LCC in Japan. The 78 companies organized under the ANAHD umbrella operate in a diverse range of markets, including air transportation, travel services and trade, and retail embody ANAHD’s shared values of exceptional service, responsible corporate citizenship and investment in the communities where they operate.
ANA is a launch customer and the biggest operator of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, making ANAHD the biggest Dreamliner owner in the world. A member of Star Alliance since 1999, ANA has Joint Venture agreements with United Airlines, Lufthansa Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines- giving it a truly global presence.
Supplementing its operations in commercial aviation, ANAHD has led the development of the innovative haptic robotics program, through its avatarin Inc. company, and its involvement in space with its partnership with JAXA, and other space related companies such as Astroscale and PD Aerospace.
The airline’s legacy of superior service has helped it earn SKYTRAX’s respected 5-Star rating every year since 2013, making ANA the only Japanese airline to win this prestigious designation and for eight consecutive years. ANA also has been recognized by Air Transport World as “Airline of the Year” three times (2007, 2013 and 2018); it is one of a select few airlines to win this prestigious award multiple times.
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