S&T team places second in University Rover Challenge, best among U.S. teams

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On June 3, 2018

The Missouri S&T Mars Rover Design Team reveals its 2018 rover, Atlas, in the Havener Center atrium. Sam O’Keefe/Missouri S&T

Missouri S&T’s Mars Rover Design Team, winners of the 2017 University Rover Challenge (URC) finished second among a field of 36 collegiate teams in this year’s competition, which was won by Czestochowa University of Technology. Missouri S&T had the top score among the 12 U.S. teams in the competition.

Missouri S&T’s team finished with 339 points overall in the three-day competition, which was held May 31-June 2 at the Mars Desert Research Station in Hanksville, Utah. The Utah desert is used for the event because it resembles the rocky terrain of Mars.

The S&T team enters the Mars Desert Research Station. (Team photo.)

The Czestochowa team finished with 374 points overall, and the third-place team, from Kielce University of Technology in Poland, finished with 322 points. Final competition results are posted on the URC website.

The URC, sponsored by the Mars Society, is designed to demonstrate the fundamentals of remote robotic travel and task completion. The Utah desert is used for the annual competition because it resembles the rocky terrain of Mars.

Collegiate teams and their rovers compete in four challenges in the Utah desert:

  • An astronaut assistance task, which requires teams to use the rover to collect lost tools left in the field and deliver them to multiple locations.
  • The equipment servicing challenge, which requires the rover to repair a mock equipment system. Tasks could include turning valves, pushing buttons and reading pressure gauges.
  • The sample return, which requires the rover to collect soil samples at selected sites in the field and use onboard instrumentation to perform a basic scientific evaluation to determine geological significance or determine the likelihood of biological life.
  • The autonomous travel challenge, in which rovers maneuver themselves through a variety of difficult terrains based on a given set of GPS coordinates. Obstacles can include soft sand, rough stones, rock and boulder fields, vertical drops, and steep slopes.

Last year, the S&T team won the international competition.

To qualify for the event, teams were required to submit a video presentation that explains the design and cost of their rover. They also had to submit a detailed final expense report.

Missouri S&T Mars Rover Design Team video of the team’s 2018 creation, Atlas

Missouri S&T’s rover, named Atlas, is a student-designed and -built rover. The team developed custom circuitry for the vehicle, machined the aluminum and carbon-fiber support structure, developed durable wheels for terrain mobility, and 3-D printed gears used in the rover.

The Mars Rover Design Team is one of 20 student-run teams in Missouri S&T’s Student Design and Experiential Learning Center (SDELC). The SDELC, housed in the Kummer Student Design Center, provides teams with computer design laboratories, a manufacturing shop, office space and logistical support. Design teams mirror small start-up companies that plan large-scale projects, organize into departments, raise funds, communicate their ideas and solve open-ended design challenges. Almost every team competes annually at an event against other collegiate teams from around the country and the world. For more information about the teams, visit http://design.mst.edu.

The following Missouri S&T students traveled to the competition:

  • Jonathan Boyson, a senior in aerospace and mechanical engineering from Grain Valley, Missouri
  • Sarah Dlouhy, a sophomore in computer engineering from Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Ian Konecnik, a sophomore in mechanical engineering from High Ridge, Missouri
  • Jacob Lipina, a junior in electrical engineering from St. Louis
  • Matthew Lowe, a sophomore in mechanical engineering from Katy, Texas
  • Nicole Moon, a senior in chemistry from St. Charles, Missouri
  • Chris Novatny, a senior in mechanical engineering from Ellisville, Missouri
  • Joseph Plunkett, a sophomore in mechanical engineering from Halfway, Missouri
  • Andrew Rausch, a junior in mechanical engineering from Monett, Missouri
  • Cameron Shilko, a senior in mechanical engineering from Smithville, Missouri
  • Nathan Skelton, a sophomore in computer science from St. Louis
  • Téa Thomas, a sophomore in business and management systems from Lee’s Summit, Missouri
  • Andrew Van Horn, a sophomore in electrical engineering from St. Louis
  • Dylan Yegge, a junior in mechanical engineering from Washington, Missouri.

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On June 3, 2018. Posted in email, News

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3 thoughts on “S&T team places second in University Rover Challenge, best among U.S. teams”

  • David G Sizemore says:

    Well Done Team.
    Wow! It took a team all the way from Poland to beat MO S & T.
    We can be proud of all the hard work and especially teamwork that went into this competition.

  • Greg Neuner says:

    That is awesome! To see sophomore’s engaged in a build competition like this is what really strikes me. I wish there would have been more activities like this when I was at MS&T.

  • Rover fan says:

    Please, write which countries are represented by competitors.