Meet our autonomous robot team: RobUTS 2018
Our five team members are losing sleep as they prepare for the 2018 NI Autonomous Robotics Competition, competing against 19 other teams from universities throughout Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore.
We're the UTS National Instruments Robotics Competition team for 2018.
This year's theme, 'Fast Track to the Future', is focused on autonomous vehicles in an off-road environment. So, in the real world, we are already starting to see plans for cars capable of driving autonomously. However, off-road terrain presents a range of additional challenges.
So, the competition track this year involves a number of terrain elements, such as bumps, ramps, obstacles and hazards, to simulate a real-world environment.
Altogether, there's two tracks side-by-side and it's a race to the finish. We've got stacks of tyres, which you got to swerve around and avoid, and then we've got to get enough speed to get up ramps and over ramps, and then we go bumpy terrain, so up and down, and then there's also curves and all those sort of things. So, it's all off-road and that race to the finish line.
Yeah, so this year speed's a major consideration. Um so, to deal with that, we've chosen this type of chassis here. It's robust. It's got a suspension system. Um, it's got four-wheel differential drive. Um, it's got Ackermann steering. So, all these features we've chosen to help us navigate these terrain elements as quickly and efficiently as possible.
We were given the opportunity to compete in this competition. It's been great. What we did is we came up with an initial design, applied for a budget, the university granted. They've given us workspaces to work with. They built a track for us. It's been really good collaborating with some of the academics. You know, getting to know them. I think it's been a great opportunity for us and it's probably going to lead to some pretty good opportunities in the future.
18 days out from the competition finals, we've still got a lot of work to do. We've recently encountered some hardware issues. For example, we just recently realised that we'll require more torque from our motors, due to certain terrain elements that we've just discovered now that the test-track is complete.
There's also a lot of weight reduction that could take place and needless to say, there's a lot to work on in terms of aesthetics.
So, doing this- while doing this competition, most of us are doing four subjects? Three subjects? So, we're definitely stressed out, but I'd say we're all really interested and really happy on working this project because it's what we're really passionate about.
This competition's a very good exercise in figuring out all the theory and putting that into practice, I'd say.
So, the competition will be held on the 18th of September at the Great Hall, here at UTS. Please come support us. We'd love to have you there. I can guarantee it will be fun.
This year’s challenge is 'Fast Track to the Future' and takes place in the UTS Great Hall on Thursday 18 September 9am – 4pm.
University teams from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore will demonstrate their autonomous robotic skills in tasks such as going through hazardous off-road terrain, coping with bumps and ramps and avoiding obstacles, while still while delivering high performance to maximise efficiency. The race to the finish is all about earning the most points.
The team will need to demonstrate high levels of
- Navigation – planing the best course to take
- Spatial Awareness – detecting and avoiding any interaction with objects and obstacles
- Efficiency – completing task in the best possible way
- Strategy – gaining the most points, based on the robot design.
You can hear how the team approached the challenge, what chassis, speed and toque issues they face, why the competition is a great opportunity to put theory into practice, and how they are managing to do all of this alongside full time study!