RMIT robot wins annual NI competition
“It was crash after crash…” as RobUTS misses podium place
A lot went wrong before eventually coming right for the ‘home’ team RobUTS at the final of the National Instruments Autonomous Robotics Competition (NIARC) held in the UTS Great Hall.
Some Wi-Fi issues scuppered many early efforts to get beyond the first round, but given another opportunity once the communications issues were sorted, the UTS team rose to the challenge and came a very credible fourth overall.
Two dozen university teams from across Australia, New Zealand and an inaugural entry from Singapore brought their entries to the live final, making it a tough competition on the theme of Transportation Innovation, requiring robots to navigate a ‘smart city’, respond to changing road rules, avoid obstacles, pick up ‘passengers’ and return home safely, earning points for speed and efficiency.
RMIT University took out the top finish and bragging rights beating 2016 winner the University of Wollongong in the final round.
1st RMIT University
2nd The University of Wollongong
3rd University of New South Wales
Best Robot Design (by popular vote): University of Waikato
RMIT’s first-place finish has earned the team a free trip to Austin, Texas where they’ll attend NIWeek, a leading engineering conference attended by thousands of professional engineers and scientists from more than 60 countries.
Associate Professor Sarath Kodagoda, who oversees the UTS entry, said getting the sensors on the robots to work well proved a big challenge for students.
"Building a robot, using the wheels and mechanical aspects of it, is not that difficult, the main difficulty is how to build the intelligence into it," he said.
Each of 120+ engineering students involved had worked for seven months on their robot designs, giving them an opportunity to bring classroom theory to life. NI provided industry-leading hardware and software to help them design and program the intelligent vehicles.
“This type of hands-on learning solidifies what the students learn in the classroom and gives them an opportunity to work with the hardware and software used by today’s top engineers.
“The transportation industry is just one of many that is being transformed by robotic technology and these students will certainly have a unique advantage in helping shape the future of these industries,” said Mr Ryota Ikeda, Marketing Director, APAC, National Instruments.
Participants in 2017 final:
- News South Wales Macquarie University, University of New South Wales, University of Technology Sydney, Western Sydney University, University of Wollongong
- Queensland University of Queensland
- South Australia Flinders University
- Tasmania University of Tasmania
- Victoria University of Melbourne, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology
- Western Australia Curtin University, Edith Cowan University
- New Zealand Massey University, University of Waikato, University of Auckland
- Singapore Nanyang Technological Institute (Singapore)