Issue 4 - 7 May 2013 enews home

Robotics team competes for gold

By Louise Errington

Engineering student Jayde Walding has his sights set on gold at the 2013 National Instruments Autonomous Robotics Competition

A crew of Charles Darwin University engineering students will face off against more than 20 university teams from across Australia and New Zealand in the search for gold as part of a robotics competition.

Second year Bachelor of Electrical Engineering student Jayde Walding is part of the team representing CDU at the “Gold Rush” themed 2013 National Instruments Autonomous Robotics Competition.

Jayde said the team had been tasked with designing, programming and building an autonomous robot that could locate and retrieve gold in a mining site simulation.

“In the competition scenario we will have no control over the robot,” Jayde said.

“The robot will make its own judgements about the path it takes and movements it performs to navigate the obstacle course and retrieve the gold on its own.

“Most importantly, it will need to be able to distinguish gold from rubble. We’re planning to do this by programming it to detect magnetic signals in the rubble, as gold does not give off a signal.”

Greg Richardson, Radesh Krishnan, Jerry Hogan, Kristjan Flis and Thompson Lam complete the CDU team of Bachelor and Diploma of Engineering students participating in the competition.

Over the next few months university teams will demonstrate their creative and technical skills as they go head-to-head in a test of their robot’s speed, agility and strength through the completion of an obstacle course with the most accuracy in the fastest time possible.
The CDU team will be required to achieve four milestone tasks throughout the competition under the guidance of Lecturer in Engineering Damien Hill to secure a spot at the finals in Melbourne in September.

The winner will receive $3000 cash, the runner-up will snap up $1500 cash and a bonus prize of $500 will be awarded for the best robot design. All teams that successfully complete the competition tasks will keep the development kit, valued at more than $20,000.

Videos of the team completing the tasks will be posted on the competition’s YouTube channel throughout the coming months.