Electronics expertise on show in combat robot challenge

JOEL Cottrell, a Flinders University science student, is part the finalist team in MAGIC 2010, an international challenge to develop the next generation of battlefield robots.

JOEL Cottrell, a Flinders University science student, is part the finalist team in MAGIC 2010, an international challenge to develop the next generation of battlefield robots.

The project is a joint initiative of Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation and the US Department of Defence.

Team MAGICian (Multiple Autonomous Ground-vehicle International Challenge by Intelligent Autonomous Navigators) will compete against five other teams from Turkey, Japan and the US.

At stake is a share of more than US$1m prize money.

Comprising researchers and students from Flinders School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics, the University of Western Australia’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Edith Cowan University, and industry partners Thales and Illiarc, Team MAGICian will receive US$50,000 to complete work on its robots.

The team was selected as a finalist after site visits by Australian and US officials to evaluate the robots of the 12 teams shortlisted late last year from 23 entries from five countries.

The team was required to demonstrate the robots’ ability to operate autonomously as they map their surroundings and deal with a simulated emergency response scenario.