Sunday, April 16, 2006

European Land-Robot Trial, ELROB

The German Armed Forces are sponsoring a robot challenge for unmanned ground robots.
They state that it will not be a competition so much as a demonstration of skills - and who has the best skills - but it is not a competition. In other words, there are no cash prizes.

The European Land-Robot Trial 2006 (ELROB 2006) begins May 15, 2006 near Hammelburg, Germany. It will consist of 3 seperate contests and a robot exposition.

The first contest will be for long range non-urban navigation by unmanned robots. The robots will have to navigate up to a kilometer through the countryside over ditches, berms, dirt, around fences, up to 40 degree incline and they may also have to face secret obstacles that could disable the robot if they are encountered.

The second contest is for urban search - "Tactical awareness in urban environment."
The robot could run into all kinds of trouble, " Examples of obstacles include standing water, fire and smoke, boulders, narrow underpasses, construction equipment, concrete safety rails, power line towers, barbed wire fences, and cattle guards. In addition to the existing natural obstacles, the organisers might place obstacles (e.g. military equipment) on the route that may disable a vehicle if struck. The buildings may be partially collapsed. These obstacles must be detected and circumnavigated for a vehicle to successfully complete the route. To enter the houses and floors there will be stairs and ramps if necessary."

The thrid contest is called EOD/IED/UXO. Even the name sounds dangerous. It will include finding explosives:
Explosive Ordinance, Improvised Explosive Devises, Unexploded Devices. The robot will have an hour to search through cars, trucks and buildings to find as many bombs as possible. Of couse they will have to face all the obstacles. I hope they include some real bombs too, just for the excitement.

The website does not mention if this will be televised but it sounds like it would make an exciting show. Especially the part about the "might place obstacles (e.g. military equipment)" along the route.
As the race begins, the announcer reveals the obstacles, " And for this next race the secret hazard will be.... Acme rocket powered robot exterminator spay!!"

1st European Land-Robot Trial 2006

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