Team RoverX, an undergraduate engineering students team from VIT Vellore has qualified for University Rover Challenge (URC) to be held in Utah, USA. “After several months of hard work and dedication, we are excited to unfurl our latest rover for the University Rover Challenge (URC),” said Mr. Pranav Srinivasan, captain of Team RoverX, VIT.
The URC by the Mars Society, USA, is one of the most renowned robotics competitions for university-level students, which challenges teams to design and build a rover that would be used by explorers on Mars. From a record field of 95 teams this year, the URC has announced 36 teams from 10 countries which have been selected to compete from May 31 to June 02, 2018 at the Mars Desert Research Station. Team RoverX from VIT University Vellore is one of the selected teams.
Team RoverX, based on Creation Labs VIT, is a team of 30 young, enthusiastic engineering students working on Mars rover prototypes, consistently every year. The URC involves making a stand-alone, off the grid Mars Rover, able to perform a myriad of scientific tasks and operations. It further involves four tasks, namely, science task, extreme retrieval and delivery task, equipment servicing task, and autonomous task. In these tasks, the team will have to control their creation without seeing them directly.
In the scientific task, the goal will be to analyze the site for its likelihood to support microbial life and in a geological context, like mineral or water flow, to testify living conditions. For the extreme retrieval and delivery task, the team will ensure that the rover delivers and picks up objects on the field by traversing wide ranges of terrains. equipment servicing task will require the rover to carry out several dexterous operations on mock-up equipment systems, as well as deliver a cached science sample to a lander and perform maintenance on the lander. Finally, the autonomous task will demand the rover to autonomously traverse between markers in moderately different terrains.
Team RoverX of VIT University has successfully designed a rover that comes under these criteria. The team has put in a lot of intense hard work for over a year now and has achieved far more than what they had expected. The entire team is beyond thrilled to have qualified for URC and looking forward to the challenge next month.