University Rover Challenge 2019

Friday, May 31, 2019

University Rover Challenge hosted by the Mars

For the third consecutive year the UW Robotics Team was invited to attend the University Rover Challenge, one of 36 team selected from 84 applicants representing 13 countries. To obtain the invite, UW Robotics had their highest ever Systems Acceptance Review score of 87 points, well over 5 points clear of the team’s previous record. This high score was crucial with previous competitors such as U of T and the University of Saskatchewan not making the cut this year, leaving UW Robotics to be one of only five Canadian teams at URC 2019.

Team photo taken in the deserts of Utah
At URC, the team faced some unfortunate challenges that resulted in complete rover failure on several occasions. All of the issues surfaced from unreliable electrical systems, from USB hubs to motor controller power connectors. While the team feels unlucky to have so many consecutive failures there is also a realization that increased reliability for future years is a must. A positive to be had amongst the failures was another personal best for UW Robotics, this time in the science task. With two members of the science team attending this year the team scored 82 points before penalties even though the rover was unable to collect soil. This personal best was the result of a very well researched and thought out science plan, done by a science team that continues to improve year after year.

Of the 34 teams that attended the competition UW Robotics finished 33, an 11 place decrease from the previous season. UW Robotics remains optimistic for future years, still holding to the belief that technically speaking this year’s rover was the best to ever be sent to competition. Reliability can never be underestimated, a lesson that this year the team learned the hard way. UW Robotics thanks all of its sponsors and team members for an excellent season and look forward to a great 2020!

To find out more about URC 2019, see the blogpost by the competition organizers below:

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