38 semifinalist teams from 16 countries will aim to create an avatar system that can transport human presence to a remote location instantly.

Apr 05 2021

LOS ANGELES (April 5, 2021) -- XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, announced today that 38 teams from 16 countries are advancing to the semifinals round of the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE competition.

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 LLC, 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, Phoenix, 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 – Osaka, Japan

●  Limitless, Lugano, Switzerland

●  NimbRo, Bonn, Germany

●  Pollen Robotics, Bordeaux, France

●  proRobot, Vysoké Mýto, Czech Republic

●  Rezilient, St. Louis, Missouri, United States

●  RobotGuru, Singapore, Singapore

●  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, Seoul, South Korea

●  Team UNIST, Ulsan, 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

“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.

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.

About ANA

Following the "Inspiration of Japan" high quality of service, ANA has been awarded the respected 5-Star rating from SKYTRAX for 5 consecutive years starting in 2013. Additionally, ANA has been recognized by Air Transport World as "Airline of the Year" three times in the past 10 years - 2007, 2013 and 2018, becoming one of the few airlines winning this prestigious award for multiple times.

ANA was founded in 1952 with two helicopters and has become the largest airline in Japan, as well as one of the most significant airlines in Asia, operating 85 international routes and 116 domestic routes. ANA offers a unique dual hub model which enables passengers to travel to Tokyo and connect through the two airports in the metropolitan Tokyo, NARITA and HANEDA, to various destinations throughout Japan, and also offers same day connections between various North American, Asian and Chinese cities.

ANA has been a member of Star Alliance since 1999 and has joint venture partnerships with United Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines.

Besides the full service and award winner carrier ANA, the ANA Group has two LCCs as consolidated subsidiaries, Vanilla Air Inc. and Peach Aviation Limited. The ANA Group carried 52.1 million passengers in FY2016, has approximately 39,000 employees and a fleet of 260 aircraft. ANA is the proud launch customer and biggest operator of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

For more information, visit www.ana.co.jp/en/us/