The finalists in the DARPA Robotics Challenge faced off this weekend in a series of eight tasks meant to tease out which machines had the right stuff to help humans respond to natural and man-made disasters. Here's a look at how the robots, and their human controllers, fared in the competition's tasks that had to be completed within an hour: drive a utility vehicle, exit the vehicle, open a door, drill a hole in a wall, complete a surprise task, walk over a pile of rubble or clear a path through debris, and walk up a short flight of stairs. (Images credit: Tanya Lewis for Live Science)

Opening the competition

A military honor guard stands at attention during the opening ceremony of the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals June 5 and 6 in Pomona, California.


The course is set

The set of a simulated disaster at the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, showing some of the tasks the robots must complete, such as opening a door, turning a valve and walking over rubble.


A challenge to conquer

The set of a simulated disaster at the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, showing some of the tasks the robots must complete, such as opening a door, turning a valve and walking over rubble.


Obstacles to overcome

The set of a simulated disaster at the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, showing some of the tasks the robots must complete, such as opening a door, turning a valve and walking over rubble.


Traversing the course

The set of a simulated disaster at the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, showing some of the tasks the robots must complete, such as opening a door, turning a valve and walking over rubble.


Watching the challenges

The early-morning crowd gathered to watch the opening ceremony of the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals in Pomona, California.


Welcoming the crowd

DARPA officials say a few words at the opening ceremony of the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals June 5 and 6 in Pomona, California.


Japan's Team Aero preps for the challange

The robot from Japan's Team Aero makes its first attempt at the course.


Team Aero on approach

The robot from Japan's Team Aero makes its first attempt at the course.


Team Aero progress

The robot from Japan's Team Aero makes its first attempt at the course.


HKU faces the challenge

Hong Kong University's Team HKU takes a few wobbly steps.


Team Valor up for a shot

Virginia Tech's Team Valor steps out onto the course.


Carnegie Mellon takes its spot

A snakelike robot from Carnegie Mellon University wriggles around at the DRC Expo.


Robotics companies opt in to the challenge

Soft robots made by Clearpath Robotics make an appearance at the DRC Expo.


Historic robots on display

A NASA robot on display at the DRC Expo.


MIT's prize robotics project

MIT's robot cheetah "Spot" prances around in its first public display, at the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals.


Team IHMC shows off

Florida Team IHMC's robot gets ready to drive the Polaris vehicle.


Prepping for the challenge

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory robot, RoboSimian, runs some tests in the team garage.


Robosimian prepares to compete

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory robot, RoboSimian, runs some tests in the team garage.


Team IHMC traverses the course

Florida Team IHMC's robot completes tasks such as pulling a lever or walking over rubble.


Team IHMC takes a bad step

Florida Team IHMC's robot takes a spill while attempting to walk over a pile of rubble.