DARPA Subterranean Challenge Finals

Venue: ,
Date: January 1970

Client: DARPA Event Type: Competition Course & Event, In-Person & Virtual


DARPA, a U.S. Defense Department agency responsible for developing emerging technologies for military use, was hosting the Subterranean (SubT) Challenge Finals, the culmination of a worldwide, 3-year competition for robotics and AI technology. 

They need an event partner with exceptional fabrication capabilities and the skills to build out the infrastructure for the competition’s technically complex and realistic course inside the depths of a Louisville Mega Cavern.


Over 16 months, our highly skilled designers, engineers, fabricators and scenic artists created the physical courses simulating tunnel systems, urban underground, and cave networks – and provided 3D modeling for the virtual course. Using theatrical, theme park, and infrastructure build techniques, we created the hyper-realistic subterranean environments – durable enough to support 500-pound robots yet portable enough to travel to event site for reassembly. The subdomains comprised over a mile of course tracks with varying elevations, dynamic features, and 1,700 individual props as obstacles.


An unusual undertaking in event design, this project required us to think and create beyond the aesthetic nature of traditional industry work. 

The lifelike course environments proved to be impressive and challenging for competitors. Most of the physical course remains in the Louisville Mega Cavern as a potential training site.

From the Media

“Inside of the Louisville Mega Cavern, DARPA worked for months to construct an incredible course from scratch, full of the kind of detail that you’d expect to see on a movie set.” – IEEE Spectrum


Best Immersive Experience
BizBash 2021 Event Experience Awards

Best Production of an Event (B2B)
Event Marketer 2022 Ex Awards
Gold Finalist

Services Provided
Creative & Design
Fabrication & Graphics
Event Infrastructure Services
End-to-End Production
3D Modeling
Scenic Painting

Tech Specs