Crowds gathered at a NASCAR racetrack in Miami this weekend to witness a more sedate sport than usual, as some of the world’s most advanced legged robots inched their way through a range of emergency tasks, including clambering over rubble, clearing debris, and operating a fire hose. And two of the robot-makers acquired recently by Google, Boston Dynamics and Schaft, dominated the contest, giving some sense of why the company was so keen to snap them up. In all, sixteen teams took part in the challenge (see photo gallery: “Robots to the Rescue, Slowly”). The robots were operated remotely but still required sophisticated automation to cope with the complexities and uncertainties faced when dealing with the real world. Teams scored points by completely tasks inspired by a real emergency faced at Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011: as hydrogen leaked from the stricken plant, human rescue workers risked their lives trying to reach and operate a valve that might’ve stemmed the leak.