Parity Error has a post that speculates on improvements we might anticipate in robot capabilities in coming years. One of the proposed reasons for the expected improvements is the incentives for improvements brought about by competitions with prizes. The post mentions some robot competitions I've covered here, like the DARPA Challenges, the Google Lunar X PRIZE, and some of the various military-flavored student unmanned vehicle competitions. It also mentioned a couple I hadn't heard of before:
RoboCup - Robot Soccer, including competitions, scholarly papers, and more
Fire Fighting Home Robot Contest - including a Robot Hide and Seek competition:
The goal of Robot Hide and Seek is to develop robots capable of finding a child with autism or intellectual disabilities who panics in a fire and hides in a burning house.