OzU Rover Team Advances to the Finals in the University Rover Challenge!
Renowned for the “planetary rovers” they have been developing at our university since 2014, the OzU Rover Team has unlocked a new achievement this year, advancing to the finals in the University Rover Challenge, URC, the world's premier rover competition annually held in Utah, the US. The team joined the challenge with their new rover “Hope” and was selected to compete in the 2020 University Rover Challenge Finals out of 93 planetary rovers from 16 countries following a thorough evaluation and elimination process.
Mentored by Assist. Prof. Özkan Bebek from the Faculty of Engineering, the multi-disciplinary team is made up of our Mechanical Engineeringstudents Suavi Yıldırım, Ahmet Emre Toprak, Alp Çamsakız, Ataberk Yapıcı, Burcu Kaya, Mehmet Emil and Ozan Aktürk, Computer Science students Ahmet Çağatay Savaşlı, Berkecan Koçyiğit, Damla Tütüncü, Deniz Uğur, İsmail Can Yağmur and Salih Metin Arkanöz, Electrical-Electronics Engineering students Tuğberk Nurtan, Mert Birgün and Zeynep Yılbırt, Industrial Engineering students Asena Ayşe Gevşek, Atahan Çaldır and Özge Özcan, and Business Administrationstudent Zeynep Örüklü.
The OzU Rover Team started working on its new planetary rover in October 2019. In search of a name for the new rover the team opened a list of names to public vote. As a result of this voting, the proposal “Space has always been a hope for humanity to discover new places and values. Therefore, let’s name the new rover HOPE as a reference to the feeling of hope” by Batıkan Özgür, a former team member, received the highest number of votes and the rover was named “Hope”.
This year, the team applied to compete in both the University Rover Challenge (URC) in the US, and the European Rover Challenge (ERC) in Poland, and for the first time in its history, OzU Rover was selected as a finalist in the URC. However, the URC2020 Finals were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the OzU Rover Team also passed the pre-elimination in the ERC. The team is currently working on their planetary rover to attend the competition which is planned to take place in September 2020.
About the OzU Rover Team
OzU Rover is a project team made of undergraduate students seeking to conduct research in the field of robotics. Founded with the support of Assist. Prof. Özkan Bebek, Co-director of the Robotics Laboratory, the team is intended to offer students an environment to put their theoretical knowledge into practice with the ultimate goal of preparing them for their future careers. Undergraduate students in the team work on planetary rovers in the Robotics Laboratory. To date, the team successfully represented Turkey in the “European Rover Challenge” with four different robots. Last year, the team ranked 13th in the ERC-2019 with their rover “Theia II” out of 56 teams from 16 countries.
What is Planetary Rover?
Planetary rovers are robots developed to conduct research on celestial bodies. These unmanned land vehicles are mostly designed to study the surface of Mars or the Moon. To serve this purpose, rovers are equipped with a reliable locomotion system resistant to harsh conditions, and robotic arms strong enough to lift a variety of equipment to help astronauts, they are also equipped with various sensors, and high-resolution cameras to transmit data and images. The main purpose of planetary surface explorations is to find proof that life once existed or still exists on the explored planet.