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‘Ville’s Mobile Robotics Team Shines

Millersville University’s Mobile Robotics Team recently showcased their innovative robotic platform, ALiEN 5.0 (Autonomous LiDAR-Based Environment Navigator, version 5.0), at the prestigious 31st Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition in Rochester, Michigan, from May 31 to June 3, 2024. This annual competition brought together top engineering talent from universities around the world, challenging them to design, build, and program autonomous ground vehicles capable of navigating complex environments.

Lots of students lining up their robots for the last competition.
Teams lining up for the final performance run of the 31st International Ground Vehicle Competition, Rochester, MI.

The Millersville team, known for their cutting-edge approach to mobile robotics, had been preparing their entry, ALiEN 5.0, for the past year. With its state-of-the-art LiDAR (laser sensors) for detecting objects, machine vision cameras for “seeing” lanes, and GPS module for following navigation waypoints, the robot was able to perceive its environment with high accuracy. These technologies were crucial for the AutoNav task, which simulated highway driving conditions (at low speeds) and required precise navigation and obstacle avoidance.

The team’s efforts were rewarded, as Millersville University took home 1st to Qualify, 2nd in Performance, and 2nd overall from a field of 23 teams in the AutoNav class, showcasing their technical readiness and innovation.

“The team has shown an extremely high level of resolve, focus, and technical skill to even qualify for this competition…not to mention they performed at the top of the competition in an international field,” says Dr. John Haughery, team advisor.

IGVC is renowned for its rigorous standards and the innovative solutions it inspires, making it a significant event for aspiring roboticists and engineers. Participation in this competition provided team members studying Automation & Robotics Engineering Technology, and Manufacturing Engineering Technology at MU with a unique opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to practical problems, fostering skills in robotics, artificial intelligence, and systems engineering.

Dr. John Wright, founding team advisor, says, “When we started the team in 2001, we never imagined the success and scope of engineering and technological development that we routinely do these days. The AEST Department prepares some of the best robotics and industrial control engineers in the world, as evidenced by our continued success at IGVC. I look forward to working with the students on next year’s design!”

With over 50 first- to third-place awards in national and international competitions over the past 25+ years, Haughery says Millersville University’s Mobile Robotics Team has a storied history of excellence. Their consistent success underscores the University’s commitment to advancing technological education and innovation. This year, the team was supported by generous sponsors, including Phoenix Contact, USA, SICK Sensor Intelligence, and Millersville University.

The team’s performance at this year’s IGVC not only highlighted their technical prowess but also underscored the University’s commitment to advancing technological education and innovation.

For more information on the competition, please contact Dr. John Haughery or Dr. John Wright. For information on degrees in Robotics & Automation, click here.

 

 

 

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