Teams from the USA and Australia took places on the podium of the international Mars rover competition – the University Rover Challenge, which ended in the United States. The fourth place went to the team from AGH University of Science and Technology in Cracow, and the fifth place to the team from the Kielce University of Technology.
University Rover Challenge (URC) is a prestigious, international competition for Mars rovers built by students. It is held at the Mars Desert Research Station, in the Utah desert in the United States, in cooperation with scientists working every day in the space sector, including NASA. The competition involves competing in four analogue space missions, replicating the real challenges faced by rovers sent to Mars.
This year, 36 teams from 10 countries took part in the competition finals. Poland was represented by four teams: AGH Space System (Kalman rover), Kielce University of Technology (IMPULS rover), PCz Rover Team from the Czestochowa University of Technology, and Wroclaw University of Technology (Scorpio rover).
As the organisers announced on Sunday morning of the Polish time, the Michigan Mars Rover Team – MRover from the University of Michigan in the United States – proved to be the best, scoring almost 389 points. Second place went to Australia’s Monash Nova Rover team from Monash University, scoring just over 380 points. The lowest step of the podium for another American team, the Missouri S&T Mars Rover Design Team (Missouri S&T), scored over 370 points.
A list of all teams’ scores published on the Internet shows that the fourth place went to the AGH Space Systems team from Cracow, which scored just over 341 points. The team from the Kielce University of Technology finished in fifth place, with just over 317 points.
Apart from these five, none of the participating teams exceeded the 300-point barrier.
Teams from Polish universities have been taking part in the University Rover Challenge competition since 2009 and have achieved numerous successes. The first was in 2011, when the Magma2 rover, developed at the Bialystok University of Technology, reached the top of the podium. The first places were taken by students from the Bialystok University of Technology again in 2013 and 2014 with the Hyperion and Hyperion 2 rovers.
In 2015, the Legendary Rover Team from Rzeszow University of Technology won the competition. In turn, third place went to the Scorpio team from the Wroclaw University of Technology, and fourth place to the #next rover, built by students from the Bialystok University of Technology. In 2016, the competition was again won by the Legendary Rover Team. Third place went to the Continuum team from the University of Wroclaw. In 2017, the team took second place and third place went to the PCz Rover Team from the Czestochowa University of Technology. In 2018, the PCz Rover Team emerged as the winner, with third place going to IMPULS from the Kielce University of Technology and fourth place going to the Raptors team from Lodz University of Technology.