Interactive Robotics Laboratory
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NASA Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge

Introduction


The main idea of NASA’s Sample Return Robot (SRR) Centennical Challenge was to encourage innovators to build fully-autonomous robots that can find, retrieve, and return samples in a large (~80,000m2) outdoor environment without relying on Earth based technologies (e.g. GPS or magnetometer). The challenge had two levels: $5,000 Level-1 Challenge for picking up one sample and up to $1.5M Level-2 Challenge for picking up (up to) 10 different samples. We (WVU Team Mountaineers) won the SRR Challenge in 2014 (Level-1), 2015 (Level-2), and 2016 (Final Prize), with a total prize of $856,000.


Year 2014


We were the only team that completed Level-1 Challenge in 2014 (NASA press release, NASA 360 TV)!



 











Sponsored by:


Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.


NASA WV Space
Grant Consortium:




MAE Dept.:





LCSEE Dept.:





We Gratefully Acknowledge the Generous Support Provided by:












NASA_Callenge_2014

Year 2015


After another year of hard work, we completed Level-2 Challenge in 2015 (NASA press release) and brought home a $100,000 prize!


 











NASA_Callenge_2015

WVU sent a TV crew to follow us at WPI and they created a mini documentary of the Level-2 Challenge:















The team was invited to visit NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and to give a presentation on autonomous sample return robot design.















The Level-2 win was highlighted as one of the top NASA stories in 2015 by NASA TV!


Year 2016


In 2016, we completed the final SRR Challenge (NASA press release) and won a $750,000 prize, which was presented by Dennis Andrucyk, Deputy Associate Administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
















See us on NASA 360 - Rovers Reloaded:














The team was recognized in Washington DC by Sen. Joe Manchin, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, and Steve Jurczyk, NASA associate administrator for Space Technology Mission Directorate














Photo: WVU

Photo: NASA

Photo: NASA

Photo: NASA

Photo: NASA

Photo: NASA

Photo: NASA

Key Team Members:


Team Leader : Dr. Yu Gu

2014: Mechanical Leads: Lucas Behrens (CAD) and Timothy Godisart (fabrication); Electrical Lead: Scott Harper; Programing Leads: Jared Strader (general and computer vision) and Nicholas Ohi (mission control); Other Core Members: Kyle Lassak (navigation), Ryan Watson (computer vision), Tanmay Mandal (firmware).


2015: Mechanical Leads: Alexander Hypes (Grabber) and Lisa Kogan (general); Electrical Lead: Scott Harper; Programing Leads: Jared Strader (computer vision) and Nicholas Ohi (mission control); Other Core Members: Kyle Lassak (navigation), Boyi Hu (obstacle avoidance); Matthew Gramlich (firmware).


2016: Mechanical Lead: Lisa Kogan; Electrical Lead: Scott Harper; Programing Leads: Jared Strader (computer vision) and Nicholas Ohi (mission control); Other Core Members: Kyle Lassak (navigation), Boyi Hu (Lidar); Chizhao Yang (SLAM); Matthew Gramlich (GUI); Rahul Kavi (machine learning).


There are also numerous other faculty and students that supported and contributed to this project.


Join us if you like what we do and want to be a member of IRL!















WVU’s reporter crew created another video of the team:















Media Coverage (selected):