Penn Engineering Students to Compete in MAGIC 2010 in Australia

PHILADELPHIA –- Students in the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science have been chosen to compete in the Multi-Autonomous Ground Robotics International Challenge 2010 competition. The Penn team, led by Daniel Lee, professor of electrical systems and engineering, will travel to a remote location in Australia and map a half-kilometer-square space of uncharted territory using only team-built robots.

The vehicles have a 40-kilogram weight limit and multiple models will be built. “The equipment we use includes remote-control vehicle bases and camera and LIDAR sensors," Lee said. “In order to maintain our tight budget, smart software is more important than expensive parts.”

Penn is one of 10 teams to receive funding. Engineers from Australia, Canada, Japan and Turkey will also compete in MAGIC 2010.

Lee, part of Penn’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Lab, an interdepartmental engineering initiative, was previously involved in the Urban Challenge of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The event will be hosted by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center and the Australian Department of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

“We are excited to move on to the next step in this collaborative, competitive process,” TARDEC Director Grace M. Bochenek said. “MAGIC 2010 will lead to groundbreaking robotics research in critical new arenas that will address operational challenges, increase energy security and save soldiers’ lives.”

MAGIC 2010 will be held Nov. 8-13, 2010, in a secret location in the Australian wilderness. First-, second- and third-place teams will take home $750,000, $250,000 and $100,000 respectively.