URC Release, Hanksville, UT, 06.05.12
The sixth annual rendition of the University Rover
Challenge (URC), which ran from May 31 to June 2, offered plenty of excitement
and intense competition before crowning a two-time champion. York University, who also won URC2009, seized the title by outlasting their competition, which came in the form of two rovers, as well as the desert heat and high winds. Brigham Young University (BYU) and Cornell University took second and third place, respectively, to round out the podium.
Held every year at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), near Hanksville, Utah, URC tasks student teams with building rovers designed to assist astronauts on future human missions to Mars. URC2012 may well go down in the books as the most difficult rover competition ever hosted. Rule changes focused on complex robotic manipulation, as well as one subtle change to the Astronaut Assistance Task that placed an emphasis on autonomous vehicle operations (a first for any URC task). Before the field competition even began, the field of ten teams was cut in half to five who were able to finish their complex systems in time.
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