In Poland, where the European Rover Challenge mobile robots competition took place, the thirteen-member team from the Department of Robotics of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at VSB-TUO was only beaten by designers from Krakow and Kielce.
Last year, the Ostrava engineers with the mobile robot RoverOva premiered in the prestigious competition, and this was a huge success – they won the fifth place. This year, therefore, they excelled themselves. “We have managed to improve not only the placement but also the score. Competitors set a high standard, so we would end up far below the stage with the points we had won last year,” says the team leader Robert Pastor.
Under his leadership, the team was preparing for the contest all year round, with the most intense work beginning during the holidays. “We knew about the weak points of our robot, so we almost entirely rebuilt it. We changed as good as the entire chassis. Only the wheel drive, the arm and some elements of the steering remained original,” explains Pastor. Recent bachelor and master graduates participated in the modifications. Their innovations were incorporated into the final model after the successful defence of the final thesis.
There were four field tasks ahead of the mobile robot, such as collecting, analysing and handling soil samples. On the other hand, blind navigation without the help of cameras checked the ability of the robot operators to control it. However, the formal requirements, such as application, documentation or promo video, were also included in the overall evaluation. “We were supposed to prepare for how the space sector works,” says Pastor, who is thinking of achieving the top rank in the next year’s competition. “It takes small changes to the chassis and then just test a lot and work on the robot to perfection,” concludes Robert Pastor, the leader of the successful RoverOva team.