$10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE Launches at SXSW

March 12, 2018

At the South By Southwest conference in Austin, XPRIZE Founder and Executive Chairman Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, in partnership with ANA launched the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, a four-year global competition to develop real-life avatars. With registration openingblank today, teams around the world are challenged to accelerate the development of a multi-purpose avatar system that will enable us to remotely see, hear, touch and interact with physical environments and other people through an integrated robotic device.

"Our ability to physically experience another geographic location, or to provide on-the-ground assistance where needed, is limited by cost and the simple availability of time," said Diamandis. "The ANA Avatar XPRIZE can enable creation of an audacious alternative that could bypass these limitations allowing us to more rapidly and efficiently distribute skill and hands-on expertise to distant geographic locations where they are needed, bridging the gap between distance, time and cultures."

Sponsored by All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan's only 5-star airline, the winning team of the ANA Avatar XPRIZE will combine state-of-the-art technologies to demonstrate a robotic avatar that allows an untrained operator to complete a diverse series of tasks, from simple to complex, in a physical environment at least 100km away. Avatars must demonstrate the ability to execute tasks across a variety of real-world scenarios. In the future, avatar applications could help provide critical care and deploy immediate emergency response in natural disaster scenarios, stretching the boundaries of what is possible, and maximizing the impact of skill and knowledge-sharing.

"As the sole provider of global long-distance physical transportation, the airline industry has long served as the catalyst for global relationships, business, diplomacy, and mutual understanding," said Shinya Katanozaka, President and CEO of ANA HOLDINGS INC. "However, our ability to provide this service throughout the world is limited by physical infrastructure and current technology. By launching the ANA Avatar XPRIZE, ANA hopes to break through the remaining barriers that exist to bring about an unprecedented era of physical connection, resource sharing, and collaboration for a brighter future for all."

The deadline for teams to register through the XPRIZE website is October 31, 2018. Teams must submit a complete competition plan to an independent panel of expert judges by January 31, 2019.

Two milestone competitions will take place in April 2020 and April 2021, respectively, during which all teams will compete for a $1M prize purse each year. The $8M grand prize will be awarded in October 2021. In a first for XPRIZE, any team who believes they have achieved the competition goals may call for the finals to be held early. The five-day finals will include performance tests based on specific tasks that showcase the application of avatar technologies across several use case scenarios.

The ANA Avatar XPRIZE originated from XPRIZE's six-month concept incubator program, called Visioneers, in 2016, led by scientist Dr.2 Harry Kloor (Ph.D., Ph.D.), where the ANA Visioneers team first proposed the avatar concept. This concept received top honors at the Visioneers Summit finale and was qualified as "ready for launch" by a group of 250 mentors including prominent corporate and political leaders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, artists, technologists and scientists.

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