Australian Rover Challenge
The Australian Rover Challenge (ARCh) returned in 2022! University students from across Australia who tested their rovers by competing in a full-scale simulated lunar mission.
The University of Adelaide, in partnership with the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC), supported by the Australian Space Agency and the SmartSAT CRC are excited to host the Australian Rover Challenge.
The competition is a new addition to the University Rover Challenge series run in America, Canada, Europe and India.
Winner: Monash University team
Runner up: University of Melbourne team
Best team culture: UTS team
This year's challenge saw Australian university students building, operating and competing their semi-autonomous rovers in a simulated lunar environment, accomplishing navigation, resource utilisation, and construction tasks while assisted and mentored by international industry and government partners.
The rovers attempted In-situ resource evaluation, performed semi-autonomous tasks and interacted with the environment using a robotic arm. In addition to the physical challenge, students presented their rover designs to industry professionals, academia and Australian Rover Challenge judges.
Your Rover has just landed on the surface of the Moon. Your team is now required to execute a task list to work towards establishing an in-situ resource utilisation (ISRU) outpost. Tasks include: conduct a systems check on the lander and relay any damage to the judges, navigate to and find the location of the Supply Cache while traversing obstacles and drops, and initiate start-up protocol.
Rovers will conduct in-situ resource identification, extraction and deposition or processing at three potential sample sites bearing varying levels of frozen water. Rovers will process the extracted regolith and deposit recovered liquid water and remnant material to the processing plant supply cache.
Lunar construction task
Use your Rover to interact and alter the local lunar environment using construction bricks to support the mission goal of establishing a surface mining outpost in preparation for permanent Human settlement. Rovers will construct a safely navigable road between key points of interest for use in the Autonomous task.
This task demonstrates the Rover’s ability for semi- to fully-autonomous traversal. All planning and estimation operations must be done by the Rover through smart navigation strategy, sensor fusion and image data processing. Rovers will be tasked with navigating to points of interest using their newly constructed road.
The 2022 Australian Rover Challenge (ARC) aims to address the challenge set out in the Australian Space Agency 2019 - 2028 Civil Space Strategy to implement STEM initiatives and partnerships with industry to support the growth of a future workforce in the Australian space sector.
The ARC will showcase Australian student talent and capability in space activities, and will create downstream opportunities for outreach and student engagement to inspire other young people to take up STEM educational pathways. The primary goals and vision of the Australian Rover Challenge are to:
- Create new university student teams by providing a platform for new, multidisciplinary robotics groups to grow across Australia and to compete in simulated mission-based scenarios for planetary rovers
- Engage with industry by directly partnering with business within the Australian space industry to create a pipeline for student employment and to discuss unique opportunities and innovative solutions in space technology and science
- Grow the Australian space industry by establishing and fostering collaboration between Australian tertiary education institutions, Australian and international industry, and special interest groups with a focus on space exploration, robotics, planetary resources, autonomy and remote communications
- Support Australian space research by providing an opportunity for undergraduate and post-graduate research on robotics, space resources, communications and autonomy to be showcased under simulated mission conditions.
ARC 2021: the inaugural event
See all the action from the first ever Australian challenge, held at the University of Adelaide's North Terrace campus.
Partners and supporters
© Australian Rover Challenge – Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources, University of Adelaide