CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Robotics Club designed, built and operated the Mars rover that won a 10-team, international competition in Canada.
The OSU entry posted the top score in each of four individual categories en route to the overall championship in the Canadian International Rover Challenge held in the Canadian Badlands near Drumheller, Alberta.
Entrants included teams from Harvard and the University of Washington as well as Poland and Canada.
The OSU Robotics Club is a student group affiliated with the Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute in the College of Engineering, one of five doctorate-granting robotics programs in the U.S.
The CoRIS Institute includes faculty across multiple disciplines, advancing the theory, design, development and deployment of robots and intelligent systems able to interact seamlessly with people. The Robotics Club is headquartered adjacent to graduate research laboratories and allows close interaction between undergraduate Robotics Club members, graduate students and faculty conducting research.
Taking advantage of that expertise in robotics, on Oct. 23 OSU will host a free, daylong symposium, The Promise and the Peril of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, as part of its ongoing 150th anniversary celebration. Registration is now open.
In the rover competition in Canada, the OSU students on the winning team were Nick McComb, Corwin Perren, Dylan Thrush, Ben Davidson, McKayla Meier, Anthony Grana, Mandy Kiger, Prathyoosha Chaya and Joseph Dieckmann.
“The Oregon State team in past years had attended the University Rover Challenge in Utah and the Sample Return Robot Challenge in Massachusetts,” Davidson said. “Having some very talented team members who were able to leverage their skills and experience gained from working in OSU research labs and elsewhere was a big key, as was access to work space and other College of Engineering resources.”
The OSU Robotics Club has three faculty advisors: Jonathan Hurst (robotics and mechanical engineering), Matthew Shuman (robotics and electrical and computer engineering) and Dale McCauley (College of Business).
In Drumheller, part of the Red Deer River Valley that’s known internationally for its abundance of dinosaur fossils, the OSU team won every category – prospecting, resource extraction, equipment servicing, and search and rescue – by a wide margin on the way to an overall winning score of 278.08 points in the four-day competition, which wrapped up Aug. 13.
Oregon State’s point total was nearly double the second-place score posted by a team from Poland’s Bialystok University of Technology.
“The competition was extremely well organized and one of the most striking aspects of the event was the unusual landscape of the Canadian Badlands,” Davidson said. “Also, how many dinosaur statues and images Drumheller has – they’re everywhere.”
About the OSU College of Engineering: The 10th largest engineering program based on undergraduate enrollment, the college received nearly $60 million in sponsored research awards in the 2019-20 fiscal year and is global leader in health-related engineering, artificial intelligence, robotics, advanced manufacturing, clean water and energy, materials science, computing and resilient infrastructure. The college ranks second nationally among land grant universities and third among the nation’s 94 public R1 universities for percentage of tenured or tenure-track faculty who are women.