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Autonomous robots to fight it out

The robot wars are coming to Melbourne on 21 September 2012, when the top universities in Australia and New Zealand go head to head.

The National Instruments (NI) Autonomous Robotics Competition is currently at its third milestone, which more than 20 student teams are preparing to pass. The brief is to build an autonomous robot to function in a simulated search and rescue environment.

In the live final of the competition, each robot will have to navigate an arena littered with obstacles and identify, pick up and move objects to designated locations in the shortest time possible.

Challenges for the robots include navigation, obstacle avoidance and object handling. Participating teams have each received a development kit featuring an NI CompactRIO embedded acquisition and control platform and an NI LabVIEW graphical system design software package.

According to NI, robotics has become integral to a wide range of applications from mining to defence, where performance, precision, safety and reliability are of the highest priority.

All teams are required to successfully achieve four milestone tasks with the help of NI engineers in the lead up to the competition to ensure they are prepared and meet the technical requirements to compete in the final.

The winner of the NI Autonomous Robotics Competition will receive a prize of $3000, with $1500 for the runner-up and a bonus prize of $500 for the most aesthetically pleasing robot. All teams that successfully complete the completion get to keep the development kit, valued at over $27,000. 

The competition final will be held at Swinburne University of Technology Hawthorn campus, whose student team won the inaugural event last year.

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