Martian rover of AGH UST Space Systems turns out best in international competition in India

photo by AGH UST Space Systems

The team of AGH UST Space Systems took first place in the international competition of Martian rovers “Indian Rover Challenge”. The space design of the students of the AGH University of Science and Technology defeated 20 teams from all over the world, including three teams from Poland. The autonomous planetary vehicles were challenged in off-road competitions similar to the tasks that can be performed by robots on the Moon or Mars. 

The rover of the AGH UST students was assessed in the following events: looking for and delivering selected objects, operating the manipulator, autonomous navigation, and the analysis of soil samples. For the purpose of completing the last task, Kalman used a specially prepared module that made it possible to perform a quick test at the place of obtaining the material. The rover also showed the uncommon abilities of its manipulator. Among other challenges, it successfully managed the tasks of opening locks, connecting the electricity supply, and the transportation of a toolbox. In the autonomous task, Kalman proved its independence, moving without assistance across an unknown terrain. New vision systems also helped it to find tools left behind by an astronaut on sand dunes, and to deliver them to designated areas. 

The competition Indian Rover Challenge is a part of the Rover Challenge Series, the most prestigious robotic competitions in the world organised by the Mars Society. It is the only competition of this kind in the Asia-Pacific region. This year’s edition took place at the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) in Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. 

The Krakow students perfected the winning design for 3.5 years. This year’s triumph had been preceded by other successes. Last year, Kalman took second place in the competition IRC 2019. In September 2019, the rover from AGH UST came second in the international competition European Rover Challenge, the largest event in the field of space and robotics in Europe. 

The team of AGH UST Space Systems has been active since 2014, and it specialises in the development of technologies for the space industry, in particular, building rockets, satellites, space probes, and Martian rovers. The members of the team are students of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Automatics, Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering, the Faculty of Computer Science, Electronics and Telecommunications, and the Faculty of Physics and Applied Computer Science.