Sheffield Robotics to Host International Field Robotics Challenge

As part of the UK’s inaugural Robotics Week from 25th June to 1st July 2016, Sheffield Robotics will be hosting an international field robotics challenge for young researchers and developers working in robotics and agricultural technology.

Field robotics is an area of research focusing on the development of robots for use in unstructured environments such as outdoor or potentially dangerous settings. The field robotics challenge intends to bring together young researchers from different robotics disciplines, and have them develop practical solutions to real-world problems in a competitive environment.

The challenge will be held on the 26th and 27th June at High Bradfield in the Peak District National Park in the two days preceding the TAROS (Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems) Conference, also being held in Sheffield.

The event is designed to bring together young researchers and developers, including final year masters students, PhD students, early-career researchers, and those with relevant experience in areas including robotics, autonomous systems, control systems, computer vision, signal processing and remote sensing.

Successful applicants will be arranged into small teams for the 2 days and will compete against each other to complete a series of robotics challenges.

The competition will reflect an agricultural scenario, played out on real-world, challenging terrain. The teams will develop software to control, as well as collect and process data from, air and ground robots provided by the organisers. Tasks will include high and low-level surveying by unmanned aerial systems and ground-based sampling by wheeled rovers.

Participants will be encouraged to present their challenge solutions during a special session of the TAROS conference, with prizes awarded to the best teams.

James Law, Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering and Sheffield Robotics, who is organising the event, said: “Field robotics is a rapidly expanding area of research, and a key strength of the UK. As the technology progresses, we are seeing transformational applications appear in areas from mining to agriculture, through space exploration to maintaining our civil infrastructure.”

“This challenge will enable the technology leaders of tomorrow to work together to create innovative solutions to real-world problems. We are really looking forward to seeing the teams in action over the two days and the solutions they develop.”

The UK’s first ever Robotics Week, organised by the UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network (UK-RAS), will be a national series of events and activities in schools, colleges and universities to showcase UK robotics capabilities and inspire the next generation. It is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), The Royal Academy of Engineering, IET (Institute of Engineering and Technology) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The number of places is limited and the organisers will be shortlisting candidates based on their applications. Full details (including how to register your interest, contacts, and deadlines) can be found HERE.

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