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Space Robotics

NASA Prizes for Builder and Flyer Robots 74

FleaPlus writes "NASA has recently announced a couple more X-Prize-style Centennial Challenges. The first is a Telerobotic Construction Challenge, for using a team of robots to assemble structures from building blocks with minimal human intervention. The second is an Planetary Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Challenge, to create a robot which can fly a path using visual navigation and hit ground targets with a probe (no GPS allowed). Rules are still being finalized, with the contests scheduled for 2007. Both prizes are for $250,000, the max Congress is allowing NASA to offer."
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NASA Prizes for Builder and Flyer Robots

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  • by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @07:22AM (#14172938) Journal
    The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International holds an annual competition named the International Aerial Robotics Competition. In order to win, a team's vehicle must complete these four objectives autonomously, without human intervention:

            * Fly three kilometers along a specified path of GPS waypoints.
            * Search a target area for a marked building; identify the openings and their centers.
            * Enter the building and document specific aspects within its interior.
            * Complete the previous three goals consecutively in less than 15 minutes.

    Yes it's GPS vs Visual, but roughly similar
  • Military? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mr2cents ( 323101 ) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @07:24AM (#14172942)
    I have just read the robotic competition faq yesterday, and I remember a similar competition there.. I just found it back at http://avdil.gtri.gatech.edu/AUVS/IARCLaunchPoint. html [gatech.edu]. I was just looking for a fun competition so that I have some fixed requirements for building a robot myself, but it's either too advanced or too simple. If anyone knows of a fun competition in Europe, please let me know.

    "Fully autonomous ingress of 3km to an urban area, locate a particular structure from among many, identify all of the true openings in the correct structure, fly in or send in a sensor that can find one of three targets and relay video or still photographs back 3km to the origin in under 15 minutes."

    It looks similar, although the prize money is only $50k, and it's for military use.
  • by massivefoot ( 922746 ) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @10:08AM (#14173293)
    Well their prize only requires that your plane fly on Earth. However, you've raised some interesting points, I suggest you go to www.x-plane.com and download the demo. It lets you fly on Mars (or at least the previous versions did, I assume the new one also does). There are two aircraft included in it that can fly on Mars, but they handle very oddly and you're right, you need huge wings.
  • by Skyfire ( 43587 ) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @12:43PM (#14173841) Homepage
    I do a fair amount of work with small UAVS (10-20 foot wingspan), and a 2-stroke powered propeller is definetely the way to go. Its been done for decades with success, its far more fuel efficient than small gas turbines (For subsonic speeds, all propulsion systems benefit from economies of scale. In general, the bigger the area of air being accelerated, the more efficient it is. Thats why the turbofans on modern airliners (B-777) are so large.), and parts are cheap and readily available. I question the ability to build a quality UAV to carry that much weight for that distance though. We are talking about 500$ for engine, minimum 5 servos x 80$ each, and that only gives you 100$ or so for the airframe. I would estimate for the basic airplane around 2000$ or less.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein