AGH UST students’ designs among best at young engineers competitions

Planetary rover Kalman

Electric off-road rally car

Autonomous transportation robot for exploration of astronomical objects

Michał Perek, photo by DPS Software Polska

Wiktor Nowak, photo by DPS Software Polska

Models of the planetary rover Kalman, an electric off-road rally car or an autonomous transportation robot for exploration of astronomical objects – these are the designs developed by students of the AGH University of Science and Technology which have recently received acclaim from the judges of two student design competitions: You Can Design and Solidworks. The designs presented by our students have been recognised and awarded – the rover and the rally car made it to the top three while the robot took 5th. place.

Both competitions required that their participants design, analyse and produce complete  solutions using the Solidworks software environment. What mattered was the power of creativity and the amount of labour the construction work required, with no other limits but the bounds of imagination of the creators. The participating students received free access to the necessary software for the entire duration of the contests. The winners were selected by the jury based on materials sent in by the student teams – design documentation with a description and a short movie or presentation. The judges assessed, among other things, design functionalities, the standard of modelling, the innovative potential of the design as well as the skills any modern designer must be equipped with: use of CAD tools, ability to solve construction problems, choice of appropriate materials, quality of documentation and design plan review.

The model of the planetary rover ‘Kalman’ was officially recognised as the best design at the You Can Design event. It was entered for the competition by Maciej Kotecki, our automation engineering and robotics student at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics, who is also a member of AGH Space Systems – the student research association he represented. The main purpose of the robot is to support future astronauts when performing their duties at space stations and extraterrestrial colonies. The platform must address a vast array of challenges modern rovers are typically expected to handle, including driving over difficult terrain, remote operations, collection and analysis of samples or geological investigation of the terrain. In addition, the rover must be equipped with functionalities considered relevant for future space missions in order to assist astronauts aboard space stations in performing day-to-day duties, such as managing the control panel, using simple tools, lifting and transporting objects or autonomous navigation between pre-defined locations. The jury appreciated above all the comprehensive character of the design and its high level of technological advancement, including mechanics, electrical set-up and electronics. The precision of the design is best attested by the fact that Kalman has been a successful contender in two student rover competitions: the European Rover Challenge held in Poland and US University Rover Challenge.

The model of an electric off-road rally car, developed by inż. Michał Perek – a mechanics and machine construction student at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics, came second at the You Can Design competition and third at Solidworks. The construction of the two-seater is based on a tubular frame. The engine together with the transmission system have been mounted at the front of the machine, while power is transmitted to the rear axle, which has been additionally equipped with a limited slip differential mechanism. Moreover, the vehicle features an autonomous front suspension and an aerodynamic body made from composite materials. The jury in both events appreciated in particular the high level of proficiency in the Solidworks software, high quality and attention to detail which characterised the 3D models included in the project as well as the futuristic vision, precise handling of mechanical issues and, last but not least, the skills in surface modelling of the car’s body.  Yet another strength of the project was the fact that the vehicle’s design was an individual, proprietary concept developed from scratch and not a variation on any existing constructions.

The autonomous transportation robot for exploration of planetary surfaces, created by inż. Wiktor Nowak – an AGH UST student at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics, took fifth place at Solidworks. The main purpose the robot is supposed to serve is the extraction of raw materials, such as metallic ores. The work on the model itself took the constructor about a week. However, developing the very concept of an innovative individual project was much more time-consuming.

Prizes in the competitions included a workstation, a tablet and a mouse recommended for CAD software. You Can Design was organised by Solidexpert while Solidworks – by DPS Software Polska.