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Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - June 2014 Newsletter: Partner Happenings: "Oakland University's Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition"
32 college/university robotic-vehicle teams competed in the 22nd Annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC) at Oakland University on June 6-9, vying for a portion of the near $30,000 in cash prizes.

For the second year in a row, the Oakland University (OU) team captured the first-place grand award, the Lescoe Cup, named in memory of co-founder Paul Lescoe. The OU team completed the Basic AutoNav course, was the only university to complete the Advanced AutoNav course, and, in addition, tied for third place in the interoperability architecture competition. This combined point total was enough to beat the California State Northridge team, the 2012 IGVC Champion and 2014’s overall second-place winner.

As an Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Director, Jerry Lane judged the inaugural two years of the Georgia Tech-hosted Unmanned Aerial Competition (UAV) in 1991 and 1992. Subsequently, in 1993, Jerry proposed to the AUVSI Board of Directors his hosting of a ground-robotics competition. With the AUVSI approval and financial backing, Jerry recruited the support of co-founders Paul Lescoe, former TARDEC Robotics Engineer, and Dr. Ka C Cheok, OU Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering.

“The IGVC gives multi-disciplinary experiences, transforming students into engineers and scientists. The IGVC directly supports intelligent-vehicle challenges of both the automotive and defense industries. This systems-engineering experience readies students, faculty and universities for relevant defense and automotive research,” Jerry, current IGVC Co-Chair, Michigan Defense Business developer, and small-business owner of Great Lakes Systems & Technology LLC, says.

The international IGVC offers a design experience that is at the very cutting edge of engineering education through a multidisciplinary, theory-based, hands-on, team-implemented and outcome-assessed approach. Based on intelligent and autonomous robot-vehicle university developments, it encompasses the very latest technologies impacting defense and automotive intelligent-vehicle developments and inspires students, teams and faculty.

Design and construction of an Intelligent Vehicle fits well in a two-semester senior-year design capstone course, or an extracurricular activity earning design credit. The deadline of an end-of-term competition is a real-world constraint that includes the excitement of potential winning recognition and financial gain.

Students at all levels of undergraduate and graduate education can contribute to the team effort, and those at the lower levels benefit greatly from the experience and mentoring of those at higher levels. Team organization, technology and project management, and leadership are practiced, and there are even roles for team members from business and engineering management, language and graphic arts, and public relations.

Students solicit and interact with government and industrial sponsors who provide component hardware and advice, and therefore get an inside view of industrial design and potential employment opportunities.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International is a founding organization of IGVC and has served as a primary sponsor for 22 years. Other main supporters include the National Defense Industrial Association Michigan Chapter, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC), Joint Ground Robotics Enerprise, TACOM Robotic Systems Project Offices, Magna Electronics, Continental Automotive, Valeo, and MathWorks. More information is available at IGVC.org. Interested universities and sponsors should contact Jerry Lane at glane@comcast.net.