Udupi, Jan 16: Mars Rover Manipal won the inaugural edition of the Indian Rover Challenge held at Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore between January 6 and 8. The 22-member inter-disciplinary student project team of Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal initiated in October 2014 had two earlier laudable performances in international competitions.
The team participated in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the University Rover Challenge at Mars Desert Research Station, Utah, USA and finished 13th in a field of 63 teams in the 2016 competition and gave a much better performance in 2017 finishing 8th out of 82 teams from across the world. The team is currently designing a Rover to compete at the University Rover Challenge 2018 to be held at Utah in the US in June.
The MIT team, with members from various branches of engineering such as E&C, E&E, Mechanical, Computer Science, Mechatronics and Biotechnology on winning the inaugural edition of the Indian Rover Challenge at Vellore was awarded a cash prize of Rs. 40,000 also.
The competition had various tasks such as Assistance, Equipment Servicing, Science and Sample Retrieval, Presentation and Surprise Task that the team managed to clear with distinction. The team scored 616 points out of a maximum of 730 which was 129 points ahead of the team in the second place. The competition featured teams from across India and Bangladesh also.
Over the last three years, Mars Rover Manipal has grown exponentially, increasing the team strength from nine in 2014 to 22 at present. Shantam Shorewala is the team leader and Dr Y Shrihari Upadhyaya is the faculty advisor. "The greatest challenge to Mars Rover Manipal is to incorporate on site modifications to designs based on the challenge faced and the team has adapted and done exceedingly well," quipped the faculty advisor.