For the second consecutive year, a Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) student robotics engineering team has won the Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) Exploration Robo-Ops Competition sponsored by NASA and organized by the National Institute of Aerospace.
The tournament was held from May 30 to June 1 at the NASA Johnson Space Center’s Rock Yard in Houston, Texas. In this year’s Robo-Ops competition, eight university teams were challenged to design and build a planetary rover and demonstrate its capability to perform a series of competitive tasks, which include negotiating specified upslopes and downslopes, traversing sand and gravel pits, picking up specific rock samples and placing them on the rover for the remainder of the course, and driving over rocks of specified diameter. A portion of the WPI team fielded the Oryx 2.0 robot in Houston, while the control team operated it from the Worcester campus.
During the one-hour performance run, WPI located and stored 13 rock samples and one alien life form, far outdistancing CalTech, with four rock samples and one alien life form, and the University of Maryland, with two rock samples. There were five other teams in the competition.
Oryx 2.0 will be shipped back to the WPI campus in time to be displayed during TouchTomorrow, a free, interactive festival of hands-on exhibits and activities focused on our scientific and technological future, which will take place on WPI’s campus on June 16. The TouchTomorrow festival is a celebration of NASA’s selection of WPI as host and manager of its latest Centennial Challenge – the Sample Return Robot (SRR) Challenge – a national competition with a total prize purse of $1.5 million that was designed to improve NASA’s capability to explore a variety of destinations in space, as well as to enhance the nation’s robotic technology for use in industries and applications here on Earth. The festival will run simultaneously with the SRR Challenge, which will be taking place on and near the WPI campus.
Read more about Oryx 2.0 here.