Year in Review
The University of Texas at Austin chapter of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society serves a diverse community of students consisting primarily of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science majors. Our students are enthusiastically driven to incorporate and apply their classroom knowledge in real world settings. Our purpose is to educate and promote STEM in the rapidly growing fields of robotics and automation. We do so by providing opportunities for students to pursue their own personal projects, as well as providing opportunities for them to compete in robotics competitions on local, national, and international levels.
Our chapter hosts its own introductory level robotics competition for freshman or sophomore engineering students with no prior robotics experience. In the fall of 2014, RAS witnessed the most successful Robotathon competition to date with more teams competing and completing the challenge then ever before.
The Mercury Robotics Competition, hosted by Oklahoma State University, tests competitors skills in the areas of wireless communication and autonomous driving. In 2015, the University of Texas Robotics and Automation Society won the Best Video Presentation Award for a video production highlighting the organization’s entry for the competition.
Region 5 Robotics went to New Orleans in April for the 2015 competition. Going through a course autonomously using sensors and vision processing, UT RAS’s Region 5 team took 13th place in competition.
The Convention for Unconventional Robotic Movement (CURM)
CURM is a convention hosted by the University of Texas Robotics and Automation Society focused on exploring new and creative methods of locomotion. Participants may enter their own robot design for judging and exhibition. This year certificates celebrating the most creative and most complex designs were awarded to participants. CURM continues to grow in size and popularity, as more students from the University of Texas and local areas choose to participate in the convention.
IGVC spent the year making plans for future competition entries. Some of their ideas include structural changes to the current robot (known as Grandpa RASputin) and a complete software overhaul to improve the robot’s current functionality. The all-new IGVC team, headed by sophomore Justin Rubio, plan to have a competition-ready robot by June 2016.
UT RAS’s VEX team partnered with Rice University’s robotics team to send two teams to the 2014 competition, known as “Skyrise.” Attending competitions in Oklahoma and Houston, the robots that VEX built had various challenges to overcome, including lifting object to the tops of tall pillars.
We participated in LEGO Day at Silicon Labs in October 2015. This included building competition fields for the FIRST LEGO League’s robotics competitions. We also participated in numerous on-campus events, such as the 40 for Forty Acres Day and Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.