On 2nd June 2016, 30 teams were present to take part in the University Rover Challenge, organized within the Utah desert, as usually. 7 teams out of the above 30 groups came from Poland. After the semi-finals, 5 teams from Poland were still fighting among the 14 leading competitors. Legendary Rover Team of the Rzeszów University of Technology won the competition, being ranked first for the second time in a row. The second place has been taken by WSU Everett Engineering Club, in front of the second Polish Team: Continuum, hailing from the University of Wroclaw. The Lodz University of Technology Team Raptors came in fifth, #next Team of the Bialostok University of Technology was ranked 7th, while the PCz Rover Team, of the Częstochowa University of Technology took the 10th place.
The winner – the Legendary Rover Team – is a group of eight persons, the core of which is formed by the students of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Aviation of the Rzeszów University of Technology. The Poles have been involved in the US University Rover Challenge for the first time back in 2009, with the Skarabeusz (Scarabeus) Rover, created as a collaborative effort of the Mars Society Polska and of the Student’s Astronautic Group which remains active at the Warsaw University of Technology. The team took the sixth place, despite the circumstances, in which some of the electronic components of the robot were lost. During the subsequent years, Polish teams have also achieved very good results, winning the 2011 edition of the competition (Magma 2, Białystok University of Technology), as well as 2013 and 2014 (Hyperion Team, Białystok University of Technology) and 2015 and 2016 editions (Legendary Rover Team, Rzeszów University of Technology).
This year’s success has some added value though. The points gained during the European and American competitions are going to be summed up, within the framework of the Rover Challenge Series league, which is one of the most prestigious robotics-focused competition globally. The league, managed by the Mars Society, also includes smaller, local competitions, of a closed character. Not only will the best US competition teams, during the European Rover Challenge which is to take place in Poland in September, be fighting to win the largest event in Europe, they will be also struggling to be ranked high in the general ranking. Finally, the teams stand a chance of winning the World Cup of the Robotics Challenge League.
The third edition of the European Rover Challenge is going to take place in Jasionka, near Rzeszów, at the Exhibition and Congress Centre. Contrary to the US competition, the desert scenery of which makes it virtually impossible to create a space for spectators, ERC is going to be available to wide audiences and young engineers.
Two previous editions of the European Rover Challenge have attracted more than 50 thousand spectators in total. This year’s edition is organized in conjunction with a conference focused on space robotics, workshop focused on further development of the designer teams. Moreover, during the event a zone will be available, within which scientific and technological demonstrations would be organized. At the moment, call for participants is in progress. All participants that would like to present their work and make science closer to the visitors, may submit their will to take part in the event via its website.