University Rover Challenge


Designing and building the next generation of Mars rovers that will one day work alongside human  explorers in the field
​​

Because this is our first year competing in URC we focussed mainly on simplicity and elegance in design.

Each subsystem has been carefully honed for maximizing performance while minimizing weight and complexity. Examples of this can be found everywhere from our linkage design, frame shell, and control system configuration.
Control System
The controls team is made up of our electrical and software members. Our goal was to create a highly reconfigurable and reliable system focusing on solid communication and visuals. We are using 2.4 Giga-Hertz Omni directional radios to transmit high definition video feeds and other signals that demand large bandwidth. Pairing these with 900 Mega-hertz access points ensures we never lose critical control transmission. For the autonomous task we are taking advantage of the ZED stereo camera to provide us with RGB and depth data.

  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
Our approach uses ROS relays to save bandwidth and the real-time appearance-based mapping package to perform outdoor simultaneous localization and mapping which can handle varying degrees of sloped landscapes. We have successfully tested this outdoors to produce local and global cost maps to inform autonomous navigation planning. For power, we are using a custom battery system made from lithium ion cells, complete with a BMS and proper isolation to protect all circuits on board the Rover. Finally, modular power distribution blocks give us more flexibility in safely routing power throughout our devices.

Looking Ahead

Our rover isn’t yet perfect, the mechanical design and fabrication is essentially complete, however we still have some work to do in tuning our software components, and integrating our systems. Thanks to our use of ROS, the rovers architecture, and our amazing team we are confident that the rover will be competitive at URC17, and we hope to see you all in Utah!

You can follow Team R3 URC on its official Twitter.​​​

​-Feroz Balsara