University of Michigan team's secret weapon.
Stephen ColBot served as the "special communications relay" robot, which essentially told all the other robots what to do as they navigated and mapped the brutal Brisbane terrain, neutralizing mock bombs, explains team adviser Edwin Olson.
The U-M team is now back from Brisbane, where they took the $750,000 first prize out of more than 20 teams in the international competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and its Australian counterpart. The goal of the contest was to produce new smart, unmanned technologies that could one day be used in urban combat zones. Read more about the contest.