Australia, U.S. name finalists in worldwide robotics competition

U.S. ARMY DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. — Six high-tech sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy teams from four con­ti­nents have been named final­ists in the inau­gur­al Mul­ti Autonomous Ground-Robot­ic Inter­na­tion­al Chal­lenge, or MAGIC.

Team Michigan is one of six challengers in the MAGIC 2010 robotics challenge.
Team Michi­gan is one of six chal­lengers in the MAGIC 2010 robot­ics chal­lenge.
Pho­to cred­it U.S. Army pho­to
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Teams from the Unit­ed States, Turkey, Japan and Aus­tralia have been select­ed by the U.S. and the Aus­tralian depart­ments of defense to com­pete this Novem­ber in Aus­tralia in an effort to devel­op the next gen­er­a­tion of ful­ly-autonomous ground robots. 

Dr. Grace Boch­enek, U.S. Army Tank Auto­mo­tive Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Cen­ter direc­tor, announced the final­ists today who will com­pete at the Roy­al Show­ground in Ade­laide, South Aus­tralia, Nov. 8–13.

The six teams are: 

  • Cap­pado­cia – Ankara, Turkey
  • Chi­ba – Tokyo
  • Magi­cian – Perth, Australia
  • RASR – Fred­er­icks­burg, Md.
  • Team Michi­gan – Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia – Philadelphia

“All the judges were impressed with the mag­ni­tude of sub­mis­sions from the teams,” Boch­enek said. “These final­ists have sur­vived a rig­or­ous assess­ment and elim­i­na­tion process against six oth­er semi-final­ist teams.” 

MAGIC 2010 is a joint ini­tia­tive of Australia’s Defence Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Organ­i­sa­tion and the U.S. Army Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Com­mand. The competition’s aim is to devel­op teams of robots which can oper­ate autonomous­ly on the bat­tle­field in dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions, keep­ing Sol­diers out of harm’s way. 

“We are excit­ed to work with the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment on this inter­na­tion­al col­lab­o­ra­tion,” said Boch­enek. “MAGIC 2010 will go a long way to help fos­ter the growth of the next gen­er­a­tion of sci­en­tists and engi­neers both in the Unit­ed States and abroad.” 

Twen­ty three teams from five coun­tries sub­mit­ted entries to the com­pe­ti­tion. Aus­tralian and U.S. offi­cials vis­it­ed twelve short-list­ed teams dur­ing a hec­tic sev­er­al-week peri­od to eval­u­ate their robots. Dur­ing the eval­u­a­tions, teams per­formed a range of activ­i­ties to demon­strate cer­tain capa­bil­i­ties includ­ing the abil­i­ty to oper­ate autonomous­ly and to map their sur­round­ings digitally. 

MAGIC 2010 offi­cials said the com­pe­ti­tion will lead to ground­break­ing robot­ics research in crit­i­cal new are­nas that will address oper­a­tional chal­lenges and save Sol­diers’ lives. The work done between the U.S. Army and the Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defense spans across the globe in efforts to advance tech­nol­o­gy for the warfighter. 

Australia’s Act­ing Chief Defence Sci­en­tist, Dr. War­ren Harch, said the com­pe­ti­tion can lead to inno­v­a­tive ideas. 

“The teams com­pet­ing in this chal­lenge bring new ideas to the table,” he said. “The inno­v­a­tive con­cepts with these robots can help the gov­ern­ment pro­vide new tech­nol­o­gy for our Soldiers.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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