The “Impuls Team” from the Kielce University of Technology won the seventh edition of the international competition of Mars rovers European Rover Challenge in Kielce. Polish constructors won in the stationary competition. The first place in the remote formula was taken by students from “DJS Antariksh” from India.
The European Rover Challenge (ERC) is a prestigious competition of Martian robots constructed by student teams. From Friday, 37 teams from over a dozen countries competed on a specially prepared track on the campus of the Kielce University of Technology. This year, the teams competed in two formulas – stationary and remote.
– It is a great honor for us, because we put hundreds of hours of hard work into the preparations for this edition. There were emotions until the last moment, because the judges did not provide partial results – said Daniel Włodarczyk from the Kielce University of Technology.
He noted that with each subsequent edition of the ERC, the level of the competition grows. – The organizers pay more and more attention to the autonomous systems to be used during the competition. We try to use these systems more and more with each competition. We are developing new algorithms that allow us to gain top positions – he said.
As it turned out, it was the autonomous ride that turned out to be the most unlucky for the team from Kielce. – During the autonomous task, our rover overturned while leaving the crater. This caused the manipulator to malfunction and therefore we had a lot of problems in the later tasks. That is why we are all the more pleased that we managed to win the first place – he said.
Another success of the Kielce team
In 2019, the team from Kielce won the prestigious international competition of Mars rovers URC in the USA, and two years in a row (in 2018 and 2019) stood on the top podium of the European edition of the Mars rover competition – ERC. Last year, the team from Kielce had to withdraw from the competition because several people from the team were in quarantine due to the pandemic.
– I am extremely proud of our students and doctoral students – said professor Zbigniew Koruba, rector of the Kielce University of Technology. – Our rover turned out to be indestructible, despite the fall it managed to enter the track again and complete the task. I think this was also appreciated by the jury – added the rector.
Professor Koruba added that the ERC competition is one of the most prestigious robotic events in the world, so he is glad that it is organized in Kielce.
The second place in the stationary formula was taken by the “ITU Rover Team” from Turkey, and the third by “EPFL Xplore” from Switzerland.
The competition was held on a special track, the surface of which was inspired by a fragment of the volcanic plain of Mars
This 20 year the teams also competed in the remote formula. The first place was taken by “DJS Antariksh” from India, the second by the German “ERIG” and the third by “RoboClyde” from Scotland.
The competition was played on a special track, the surface of which was inspired by a fragment of the volcanic plain of Mars called Elysium Planitia. – The track this year was extremely difficult. Craters, frozen volcanic streams, on the one hand, made an impression on visitors, on the other hand made people who sat in the robot control center and saw what was happening only through the camera, said Łukasz Wilczyński, president of the European Space Foundation, which is the main organizer of the competition.
– Despite the pandemic year, the ERC is back on track. We had a three-day program with science and technology demonstrations, lectures and debates with representatives of the most important space agencies. It aroused great interest, which makes us very happy – he added.
The European Rover Challenge combines the international competition of Mars rovers with science and technology shows
This year’s speakers included NASA’s deputy head Robert Cabana and Dr. Tanya Harrison, who for 13 years of work at NASA was the first person in the world to receive and analyze thousands of photos sent by Mars rovers.
The European Rover Challenge is the largest space event in Europe combining the international competition of Mars rovers with scientific and technological shows. The project is co-financed from the “Social Responsibility of Science” program established by the Minister of Education and Science. The event is co-organized by the European Space Foundation, the “Starachowice” SA Special Economic Zone, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship and the Świętokrzyska University of Technology.
Main photo source: TVN24