The RASC-AL Exploration Robo-Ops Competition, sponsored by NASA and organized by the National Institute of Aerospace, begins today. Multidisciplinary teams from universities around the country were tasked with building a planetary rover prototype that will attempt a series of competitive tasks at NASA Johnson Space Center’s Rock Yard in Houston. Teams submitted proposals last December, and the top eight were chosen to compete.
The team from Arizona State University was among the elite eight. Their "RoboDevil," shown below, features the Cradlepoint COR IBR600 for connectivity. The RoboDevil will compete this Thursday.
Mission Objective (from ASU Robo-Devils Facebook page)
The rover will be required to complete an obstacle course at the Johnson Space Center Rock Yard in Houston, TX. This obstacle contains slopes with a 33% grade and a sand pit with an incline of 20 feet long. It must be able to traverse over obstacles up to 10cm in height. The rover must be capable of selectively picking up irregularly shaped rocks with maximum diameters ranging from 2 to 8 cm and masses ranging from 20 to 150g and must be capable of picking up five of these and transporting them using the rover throughout the course. Each rock will have a different color, and corresponding scoring point value, and the rover must be able to determine the color (using the camera mounted to the mast). The rover is required to be controlled remotely from campus at ASU via a commercial broadband wireless uplink. We have chosen to use Verizon Wireless as the primary data carrier. The only information available to the driver of the rover at ASU will be information transmitted through on-board rover video camera or other on-board sensors. The camera will allow the transmission of the competition back to ASU as well as streamed broadcasts available to the general public. The only physical interaction of the team that is at the Rock Yard will be a one-time, 10-minute maintenance, if the rover needs it, and transportation from one part of the obstacle to another via a “transporter pad”. The team has one hour to complete the course and required tasks.