CEDARVILLE — A team of Cedarville University engineering students navigated its way to first place in the Autonomous Vehicle category at the 29th annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition June 3-6 in Rochester, Michigan. The victorious team finished in the Auto-Nav Challenge in 5:05 to win the $3,000 prize.
The top five finishers included the University of Oklahoma in second place, followed by SVKM’s Mukesh School of Technology from Mumbai, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Hosei University.
Dr. Clint Kohl, senior professor of computer engineering, advised the team of four students, all of whom graduated in May. The team included Joshua Blackburn from Mount Gilead; Rachel Judy from Springfield; Drew Murphy from Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania; and McKenzie Barlow from Fork, Maryland.
Out of 23 teams entered in the Autonomous Navigation category, Cedarville was the second to qualify and first to finish the 525-foot obstacle course. The only other team to complete the entire course was the University of Oklahoma, last year’s champion.
The student’s objective was to prepare an unmanned ground robotic vehicle to navigate around an outdoor obstacle course in under six minutes, while maintaining a speed of 1-5 miles per hour. Judges ranked the participants based on the timed completion of the course.
The team only had one month to prepare for the competition, starting during finals week of spring semester. Despite this hurdle, the team outdid last year’s entry, which resulted in a second-place finish after a yearlong effort.
“Our team was composed of members with the right combination of hardware and software skills and an incredible amount of dedication and determination,” Kohl said. “The team was giving up their evenings after working all day at their full-time jobs. At the competition, they were the first team on the practice track in the morning and worked late. Without all that effort they never would have won.”