April 04, 2013, 3:55 PM — DARPA's ARM program--that's Autonomous Robotic Manipulation--probably isn't comparable to the pit crews you'd see at a F1 race track. However, given the fact that this thing is functioning without any previous pre-programming and is operating based on high-level commands like, "Screw in that bolt", it's actually really impressive to see how excellent these low-cost robotic arms are at slowly performing automotive chores.
The idea behind ARM is to develop software, hardware, and sensors capable of semi-autonomously grasping and manipulating objects in non-laboratory environments. Essentially, it's supposed to make robots that can search bags, defuse explosives, and rule the world without first being given a step-by-step instruction manual.
Why are we doing this, again?
According to its YouTube video description, DARPA has succeeded in getting the ARM robot to manipulate objects with one arm and one hand. Currently, DARPA researchers are working on perfecting two-handed object manipulation, something they're well on their way towards accomplishing if this demonstration is any indication of things.