First held in 2004, RobotChallenge is one of the world’s biggest robotics competitions. Since then, teams from 61 countries have taken part in the competition. Robot designers of different ages and levels of proficiency can take part in the event.
This year’s RobotChallenge took place on August 10-12 in Beijing, bringing together more than 2,000 robotics enthusiasts from 30 countries. Nearly 1,500 robots competed in a number of categories. The competition includes several “robot sumo” competitions, aerial racing, contests for line-following and puck-collecting robots, as well as a freestyle category.
ITMO University’s school team from the Creative Robotics Lab, headed by coaches Igor Lositsky and Evgeny Zavarin, competed in the Freestyle category with 30 other teams. The team included school students Vasiliy Dunaev, Daniil Pavlov and Daniil Martynov, and presented an improved version of their project Clean Arctic.
The project was first carried out two years ago and won first prize at the Russian Robot Olympiad. Its goal is to provide a solution to an important environmental challenge: the removal of empty fuel tanks from the Arctic region. A special robot-assistant identifies the tanks’ locations, picks them up and places them on a conveyor that moves them under a press. The pressed “pancakes” are easier to store and transport back to the mainland.
Clean Arctic includes a surveillance system that identifies the empty tanks from above – for instance, from an unmanned drone. It dispatches robots to the location of the tanks, which collect them into a special cargo compartment.
As coach Igor Lositsky notes, the project has been vastly improved since it was last shown.
“The project has been improved significantly since it was first developed two years ago. Its current version employs a neural network to ensure that the robot can identify objects with better precision. To win, we had to beat 30 other projects. An interesting premise, a complex structure and stable performance – those are the things that, in my opinion, helped us win”
ITMO University’s school teams often become winners of Russian and international robotics competitions. Recently, a team representing the university won first place in the Senior group of the Open category at the All-Russian Olympiad in Robotics with their “smart garden bed” project Strawberry Fields. Last year, Igor Lositsky’s team took the gold medal in the Senior group of the Open category at the World Robot Olympiad in Costa Rica.