University teams will compete in their own version of pod racing when the inaugural QUT Droid Racing Challenge comes to QUT's Gardens Point campus this Wednesday, June 29.
WHAT: 2016 QUT Droid Racing Challenge
WHEN: Wednesday, June 29, 10am to 2pm
WHERE: Kidney Lawn, Main Drive, QUT Gardens Point campus, 2 George Street
The free robotics event is open to the public and will feature small autonomous cars built by the students that will race around the Kidney Lawn in a round robin contest between 10am and 2pm.
The cars - which are around 30cm long - look like remote control cars but actually have their own autonomous navigation systems and computer vision.
The QUT Droid Racing Challenge has been organised by the QUT Robotics Club - a student club that promotos STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and robotics amoung QUT students and the wider community.
Club treasurer Lachlan Robinson, who is the challenge manager, said QUT would field three teams, with teams also competing from UQ, UNSW and Griffith University.
Each team has been able to design and build their own autonmous ground based droid, using any desired method and materials, so long as they incorporate computer vision and obstacle avoidance skills.
"We use a buggy-style remote control car as a base but we have basically ripped it all apart and built our own control system and modified the chasis," Lachlan said.
The event will see more than six months of hard work come to fruition for the club.
"The Droid Racing Challenge is a way to really put ourselves out there and show that we play a positive role in the QUT community," Lachlan said.
"We work with the Science and Engineering Faculty (SEF) and other groups at QUT, and regularly engage with students at workshops and social events. Our activities provide a way for students to engage with robotics outside the class environment. We try to get students involved as early as possible, building robots and gaining experience from their first year at QUT."
The club has secured sponsorship from Boeing, Insitu Pacific and the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, which is based at QUT, to make the race possible.
Lachlan, who has just finished his final exams for his engineering mechatronics degree, is passionate about robotics and autonomous systems - and not only because they make things easier or more efficient.
“I like that I can build something that can operate independently of human control – that can obtain data about its environment, make decisions, and act on them. It’s an amazing thing,” he said.
- Mechelle McMahon, QUT media officer, 07 3138 9449 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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