DETROIT ARSENAL, WARREN, MI - As part of an international robotics competition cohosted by the U.S. Army and Australian Department of Defense, a team of Army robotics scientists visited the University of Michigan June 21.

Michigan students demonstrated the University's entry giving the scientists a first-hand look at the advanced technology this team could bring to the final event - if the Wolverine team makes the cut and goes to the finals in Australia.

The Multi-Autonomous Ground Robotics International Challenge 2010, known as MAGIC, is cohosted by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's tank and automotive center and the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

Judges narrowed down the 23 original proposals to 12, including the University of Michigan. Of those 12, five will be invited to the world finals in Australia this November. MAGIC finalists will be announced in July.

At the event's conclusion, one university will receive $750,000 in prize money to further their program's robotic development. Second- and third-place teams will win $250,000 and $100,000 respectively.

In addition to the prize money, qualifying teams may have an opportunity to work with American and Australian military organizations to develop the advanced robots that will work alongside future generations of Soldiers on the modern battlefield.

"MAGIC 2010 will lead to groundbreaking robotics research in critical new arenas that will address operational challenges, increase energy security and save Soldiers' lives," said Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center Senior Research Scientist in Robotics Dr. Jim Overholt. "Competition from institutions around the world will be tough, but we'll see the best-of-the-best in Australia this fall."

The Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center is the focal point for ground robotics for RDECOM and U.S. Department of Defense. The DSTO is the science and technology arm of the Australian Department of Defence.

The MAGIC 2010 competition, the first of its kind in the world, has been established to attract entries that will further the development of fully autonomous robots for military, commercial and civilian emergency applications. Competing teams will ultimately field squads of unmanned vehicle prototypes that autonomously coordinate, plan and execute a series of timed tasks including classifying and responding to simulated threats and exploring/mapping diverse terrains.

MAGIC 2010 entries were open to international organizations from industry and academia. Twenty-three entries were received from the United States, Australia, Canada, Poland, Japan, South Korea and Turkey.

Page last updated Tue June 22nd, 2010 at 00:00