Penn Takes Second Place at MAGIC 2010
The University of Pennsylvania finished in second place at the worldwide Multi Autonomous Ground-Robotic International Challenge (MAGIC) 2010 competition, earning the Penn team a research award of $250,000. To compete, the team traveled to Australia, where the event was held in conjunction with the Australian Land Warfare Conference.
The Penn team, consisting of General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory members Jon Butzke, Alex Kushleyev, Cody Phillips and Mike Phillips, spent the past few weeks constructing, programming, shipping, and reassembling a team of heterogeneous robots to map, navigate, search, and neutralize objects of interests in a large area using minimal human supervision. The team is led by Daniel Lee, Evan C Thompson Term Associate Professor and Raymon S. Markowitz Faculty Fellow in the department of Electrical and Systems Engineering.
The actual competition consisted of the Penn team searching and mapping a 250,000 square-meter area of the Adelaide Fairgrounds in under three-and-a-half hours, using five sensor robots and two disrupter robots. The team was able to find and "neutralize" eight different items, including both static and mobile objects, during the different phases of the competition.
In a separate challenge competition for members of the media, the Penn team successfully mapped a large 50x150m shed filled with hay mazes and miscellaneous objects in 30 minutes. The team's effort in this phase of the competition netted the winning trophy as well as much interest from the military observers in attendance.
MAGIC 2010, jointly sponsored by the Australian and U.S. Departments of Defense, was organized to attract innovative proposals from worldwide research organizations to develop next-generation fully autonomous ground vehicle systems that can be deployed effectively in military operations and civilian emergency situations. The challenge required competitors to submit proposals demonstrating the use of multi-vehicle robotic teams that can execute an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission in a dynamic urban environment.