Sunday, September 18, 2016

Polish Teams Once Again Dominate European Rover Challenge

Raptors Team from Łódź University of Technology after winning the ERC 2016 title. Photo Credit: ERC

Teams from Poland have once again dominated the European Rover Challenge (ERC) – a competition to design, construct and operate a rover that most successfully complete a number of Mars-exploration themed tasks. This year’s edition was won by the Raptors Team from Łódź University of Technology (Poland). The second place was also awarded to Polish team - the Impuls Team from Kielce University of Technology.

ERC is a European variation of the prestigious University Rover Challenge (URC) in the US. Organized by the Polish branch of Mars Society and managed by the European Space Foundation, ERC is the Europe’s biggest robotics competition for college and university students. ERC 2016 was the third edition of the contest and took place in a small town of Jasionka, near Rzeszów, Poland on Sept. 10-13.

Raptors Team won the competition, earning 637 out of 910 points – 54 more than Impuls Team and 99 more than the 3rd placed McGill Robotics Team from the McGill University in Montreal, Canada. These teams have most successfully competed in various ERC 2016 tasks like obtaining samples of soil, delivering objects from one location to another, rover navigation and maintenance activities. 

“The best team won. We are happy to see that Poland once again proved that it is undefeated in robotics. In fact, the project documentation sent by competitors has met the requirements for important scientific ventures,” said Łukasz Wilczyński, European Space Foundation President.

The first edition of ERC that took place in 2014, was also dominated by Polish teams as the Scorpio Team from Wrocław University of Technology won the competition and Impuls Team was second.

This year’s ERC attracted more than 400 young constructors from all over the world. 23 teams from 7 countries competed in the contest. About 20,000 spectators have visited the event.

Mars rovers at ERC 2016. Photo Credit: ERC
Mars rovers at ERC 2016. Photo Credit: ERC

ERC 2016 was accompanied by the European Robotics Congress and an exhibition zone. The congress included a variety of presentations and demonstrations about the main principles and objectives of Poland’s space strategy and was held to highlight the importance of the four-day ERC event. The exhibition zone hosted a series of scientific and technological demonstrations where participants, among others, were able to learn the basics of robotics or use a flight simulator.

The Poland’s space strategy announced at the congress includes the increase of annual contribution to the European Space Agency (ESA) by 10 million Polish złoty ($2.6 million) and the development of the nation’s indigenous satellite.

“Space industry is one of the most innovative and technologically advanced sectors, with increasing importance for European and world economy. Therefore, we believe that developing this sector is extremely substantial,” said Jadwiga Emilewicz, Deputy Minister of Development.

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