July 11, 2008

Case School of Engineering continues autonomous robotics excellence in international lawn mower competition

Case Western Reserve's group places third among eight teams, wins $5,000

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Case Western Reserve University's Autonomous Lawn Cutting Team took third place in the Fifth Annual ION Robotic Lawn Mower Competition recently in Dayton. The team, led by Case School of Engineering faculty members Roger Quinn and Michael Branicky, also brought home a $5,000 prize.

The third-place finish is Case Western Reserve's first and highest placement in a mobile robotics competition, according to team member and third-year undergraduate student Bradley Hughes. In addition, the team, who have nicknamed themselves the "CWRU Cutters," garnered top honors with the best combined technical report and presentation scores among all teams. Medina, Ohio-based MTD Products Inc., is the team's sponsor and donated a 20-inch electric push mower. MTD manufactures such product lines as Cub Cadet, Troy Bilt, Yard Machine and most Craftsman power equipment.

According to Fairfax, Va.-based ION, or the Institute for Navigation, the purpose of the lawn mower contest was to design and operate an autonomous unmanned lawnmower using the "art and science of navigation" to rapidly and accurately mow a field of grass.

With 11 teams to start, eight teams made the finals of the competition. With two classes of competitors -- advanced and basic -- the Cutters were in the advanced competition with five other teams.

In addition to Quinn and Branicky, the Cutters include graduate engineering students Amaury Rolin, Kathryn Daltorio, Jonathan Beno, Alexander Schepelmann and Arkady Polinkovsky; undergraduates Matthew Voss, Todd Jacobs and Hughes; and local high school student Kyle Layton.

The Case School of Engineering is making a name for itself in the international field of robotics and biologically-inspired robotics. In October 2007, its autonomous robotic vehicle, DEXTER, finished in the top 20 at the 2007 finals of the DARPA Urban Challenge in Victorville, Calif., the first time Case Western Reserve has ever entered the prestigious $3.5 million international competition.

For more information contact Laura M. Massie, 216.368.4442.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, July 11, 2008 12:47 PM | News Topics: Awards, Case School of Engineering, Faculty, HeadlinesMain, Provost Initiatives, Research, features

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