Valkyrie robot Meet Valkyrie, the 6-foot 2-inch robot from a team at NASA's Johnson Space Center. NASA

On Friday and Saturday, DARPA, the federal agency responsible for developing new technologies for the military, is holding the DARPA Robotics Challenge near Miami, where 17 teams are competing by having their autonomous robots perform eight different tasks.

The goal is to have these robots enter a disaster area -- such as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear zone -- or other hostile environments to investigate, make repairs or even rescue victims. To do that, the robots must use stairs, navigate through rubble and walk across rubble, to name a few of the difficult tasks they're required to perform.

Watch the trials live here:

Several competitions are occurring simultaneously, and can be views at the IEEE Spectrum.

In one year, the finalists will compete again to determine who will win the $2 million prize.