The Carleton Planetary Robotics Team (CPRT) consists of 80+ undergraduate students in the Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Science working together to design, program build a Mars rover to compete in international competitions.

This year, CPRT is working towards competing at the 2020 University Rover Challenge (URC) held in Hanksville, Utah at the Mars Desert Research Station and the 2020 Canadian International Rover Challenge in Drumheller, Alberta. Last year, the team placed 17th out of 84 teams at URC.

The University Rover Challenge is the largest international Mars Rover competition in the world and will allow the team to continue taking the next steps in innovation and robotics at Carleton.

The URC has four main tasks:

  1. Autonomous Terrain Traversing: The rover has to autonomously travel over different terrains and over obstacles to test field-ruggedness.
  2. Extreme Retrieval and Delivery: The team is given GPS coordinates to different locations in the field where tools are that need to be collected by the rover and delivered to designated locations.
  3. Science Cache: A geological survey must be done by the rover by analyzing soil samples and returning data that is used to determine signs of life.
  4. Equipment Servicing: Using the rover’s robotic arm, the rover must perform tasks such as flipping switches, turning knobs, and carrying equipment.

Last year, CIRC had similar tasks as CIRC, with two new tasks:

    1. Search & Rescue: Find a lost astronaut in a field, replace an air-canister and patch up a tear in their suit
    2. Resource Extraction: Autonomously locate digging sites, and collect 20 gram soil samples from a depth between 75 and 125 mm under the surface

The Background

CPRT is designing & building a Mars Rover to compete at the 2020 University Rover Challenge hosted in Hanksville, Utah at the Mars Desert Research Station and the 2020 Canadian International Rover Challenge hosted in Drumheller, Alberta.  These competitions are made up of over 30 university teams from around the world.

Last year, the team took 17th place at URC, placing us in the top half of the teams present, and improving from last year’s 24th place! This is an exciting showcase of how much further the team has come in just one year.

This year, we need your help to get to and find success in Utah and Drumheller!  Thanks to all the generosity of the community and funds raised during our Giving Tuesday Campaign in the Fall of 2018, we have built our most advanced rover yet, which has allowed us to be accepted into two different competitions.

The Rollout

Attending URC in a high capacity that will allow the team to find success is both a financial and logistics challenge.  The allowable budget for the rover is a total of $18,000 USD, which does not include any travel and accommodation fees. The funding we receive will be used to help cover the costs associated with attending competitions and allowing as many team members to attend.  It is expected that it will cost at least $20,000 in order to send 17 highly skilled team members to Utah. funding raised will be used to help cover the areas of:

  • Flights: $9000
  • Accommodations: $5000 
  • Transportation Rentals: $2500
  • Rover Shipping: $2500
  • Team Uniforms: $500
  • Miscellaneous Competition Supplies: $500
  • Other areas where we hope to apply funds include the purchasing of science lab equipment to further our analysis capabilities and materials to help with prototyping of next year’s rover.

The Carleton Planetary Robotics Team would greatly appreciate any financial support you can provide. Funds raised will go a long way in offsetting the costs of this project and promoting the continued success of our team.

The Impact

The Carleton Planetary Robotics team will give students invaluable experience applying skills they have learned throughout their program to address a modern real-world issue.

With over 80 members representing each of the multidisciplinary streams of engineering and design at Carleton, students will have the opportunity to travel and compete on the international stage at the 20020 University Rover Challenge while representing Canada at home through the Canadian International Rover Challenge. This competition is not only a once in a lifetime learning experience, but also an incredible networking opportunity that allows our students the chance to converse with peers from across the globe, as well as industry professionals from the space sector. More than this, the competition offers an opportunity for our team to showcase Carleton knowledge and talent in the fields of space and robotics, which will only encourage students to grow and improve upon their specialties.

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