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Robotics team takes home top honors at Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Robotics team takes home top honors at Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition
The tents have been taken down and the obstacle course barrels have been picked up from the 22nd annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition held at Oakland University between June 6-9.

For the first time in the competition's 22 year history, the trophy is staying put as Oakland University's Oakland Robotics Association retained the Lescoe Trophy by winning the Grand Award for Overall Performance.

The Oakland Robotics Association team, made up of 23 members, ranging from freshmen to doctoral students, also won the first place award for the Main Autonomous Navigation Challenge during the finals on Monday afternoon. With their victory came $10,000 in prize money.

In all, they invested hundreds of hours in developing this year’s robot called "Mantis."

OU Robotics Association team president Mike Truitt, a master's student studying mechatronics added, “We started working mid-October, ran through a couple different prototypes and eventually came up with the competition design. We knew we had some room for improvement in the mechanical design and software implementation from last year's robot and making those fixes put us in a position to win again."

 In addition to Oakland's team, 31 other highly-skilled robotics teams from around the globe competed for top honors.

During the competition, teams were judged in four challenges. Each team gave an oral presentation about its robot, completed an outdoor obstacle course, maneuvered through a navigation challenge and demonstrate full compatibility with the Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems (JAUS) standards.

"The competition and the course itself were designed to get students from Oakland and around the world thinking about robotics and its applications in everyday settings," said Ka C. Cheok, Oakland University Engineering professor and co founder of the IGVC event. "We started with the goal to provide the military with technical advances to allow robots to be operated by a computer."

As to applications in the automotive industry, Cheok says, “The automotive industry wasn’t even close to being interested in this application in 1993 at the time we started the competition. But they are now.” He added, "These exercises and training have a direct bearing to future smart cars that will mitigate accidents and save lives.”

Along with Oakland University, sponsors of the competition include Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Foundation, AUVSI -Great Lakes Chapter, U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), U.S. Army Robotic Systems Joint Project Office, U.S. Department of Defense Joint Ground Robotics Enterprise, National Defense Industrial Association-Michigan chapter, Lockheed Martin, Magna International Inc., Continental Automotive, Valeo, Molex, Takata and MathWorks.