The UCL Rover Team arrived in Poland for the European Rover Challenge excited to compete and meet the other teams from universities all over the world. With 5 continents represented at the the biggest space and robotics event in Europe, the competition was daunting, yet exciting.
The competition started with a maintenance task that tests the dexterity of the robotic arm. Unfortunately, issues related to the drive system and communications meant the task could not be completed within the allocated time.
Additionally, the rocker-bogie suspension was put to the test in a blind traversal task that resulted in an almost fatal turn of events. Despite having a damaged suspension pushrod, it managed to traverse through a number of checkpoints.
The rover then moved on to the collection task where it employed our auger drill to collect deep soil samples and excavate trenches with the scoop.
Finally, we were tasked with gathering science caches, some of which were hidden in the soil. Meanwhile, the inner workings of our team were being examined by a panel of industry professionals, where we showcased our whole project including incubation systems, and our open source policies that are fundamental to the team’s vision.
Having ranked 16th out of 65 teams competing, the competition was incredibly rewarding. Additionally, we also had the pleasure of hearing from astronaut Tim Peake, and President and Director of Explore Mars Inc, Artemis Westenberg, who shared their experience with us. Overall, the team is really pleased with how the competition went and are already looking ahead to compete in University Rover Challenge 2019.
We would also like to thank our sponsors UCL Engineering, AccuGroup, Protocase, Maxon Motor, igus, NVIDIA, SiliconHighway, Easy Composites for all their support in helping us make it to the competition!