Unmanned Robotics Challenge 2021

August 15, 2021 to December 25, 2021 

The Unmanned Robotics Challenge (URC) is an international robotics competition being organized on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The URC is intended as an ambitious and technologically demanding competition that aims to inspire the development of engineering temper through the development of innovative solutions to topical problems facing the unmanned robotics industry.

Autonomous robotic systems are on the verge of becoming ubiquitous that will, acting either as a single agent or in concert with other agents, enhance and redefine a variety of industries including automated package delivery, safety inspection, surveillance, and docking, assembly and construction. While these systems are beginning to be deployed in controlled settings for a variety of applications, their large scale deployment across a range of diverse, dynamic and unstructured environments still eludes us. The URC aims to focus on some of these applications and enabling technologies by providing a diverse and demanding set of challenges to attract the best teams to foster and showcase innovation using robotics technology.

The URC is envisaged as a progressively graded competition which will culminate with a grand challenge that will occur within the premises of the Mechanical Engineering Department at IISc in December 2021. This document describes the main challenges of URC 2021 including relevant dates and deadlines. In light of the uncertainty surrounding the SARS-COV2 pandemic and based on feedback received from the robotics community, please note that the URC organizers reserve the right to finetune URC 2021 Challenge Description leading up to the competition in December 2021.

Prizes and Sponsorship

INR 10,00,000 will be allocated for prizes and team sponsorship.

URC 2021 will be require the use and deployment of autonomous aerial and ground robots for navigation and manipulation applications in primarily outdoor environments. The URC 2021 will consist of two qualification challenges which will culminate in a triathlon-type grand challenge in December 2021. The challenges are designed to demonstrate interoperability and precise coordination in unstructured outdoor terrain with the objective of developing robotic teams that are suited for deployment for construction and source localization applications.

Challenge 1: This challenge is motivated by the need to demonstrate interoperability and coordination between a UAV and a UGV that requires the UAV to hover at a designated location within line-of-sight of a remote pilot. The UAV will need to deploy a video camera for visually guiding the path-following UGV through a sandy/muddy area to the designated area located directly beneath the UAV. A computer-aided drawing of the path consisting of numerous line segments for aiding in UGV navigation may be provided if required during this challenge. The UAV video feed will need to be uploaded as proof of demonstration of the challenge.

Challenge 2: This challenge is motivated by the need for developing a robotic construction team that is capable of assembly of 3D-printed components of a large-scale structure. To this end, the UAV will need to assemble and align atleast three regularly-shaped brick-like structures made from air-dried clay on top of each other on a mobile UGV platform that follows a designated path at a reference speed in an outdoor environment. The brick-like structures will have grooves for divots that need to be inserted by the UAV so that the structure remains aligned together throughout the duration of this experiment. The UAV video feed of this experiment will need to be uploaded as proof of assembly during this challenge.

As Proof of Intention to Participate, the teams will be required to upload a video of a preliminary real-world demonstration of the tracking and landing by a remotely-piloted UAV on a designated landing pad (circle 2’x2′ across) in an outdoor environment. The landing maneurver will need to be accomplished by the remote pilot through solely relying on the video feed from the downward-looking camera. We plan to select 32 teams in the Pre-Quarterfinal based on this qualification video, which will be pared down to 16 and 8 teams during the Quarterfinal (QF) and Semifinal (SF) stages of the competition. At the QF stage, the teams will be expected to upload a video of a real-world demonstration of CHALLENGE 1 listed above. At the SF stage, the teams will be expected to upload a video of a real-world demonstration of CHALLENGE 2 listed above. Qualification for the final is contingent on teams clearing CHALLENGE 1 and CHALLENGE 2. The final is planned to be a GRAND CHALLENGE timed triathlon event, requiring live demonstration of three new challenges that will need to be performed in succession in a designated arena on location in IISc Bangalore. The details of these three new challenges will be made available to the qualified teams in due course of time.

The URC 2021 challenges are motivated by the need to push the technological boundaries in robotics, which will require either manual or autonomous navigation and dextrous manipulation in complex dynamic environments with potentially reduced visibility (due to smoke from forest fires and chemical spills, for instance) and limited prior knowledge of the local environment, which will require robust sensing and obstacle avoidance capability in outdoor environments.

 

Proof of Intention to Participate

Teams seeking to participate in URC 2021 are requested to register by submitting an online application by visiting: https://mecheng.iisc.ac.in/urc21. As proof of serious intent, each team will be required to upload a video of a preliminary real-world demonstration of landing by a remotely-piloted UAV (based on a video feed from a downward-looking camera attached to the UAV) in an outdoor environment. The deadline for submitting the application is August 15, 2021. The application form also provides the teams the opportunity to give feedback on URC 2021 challenges outlined in this document.

 

Important Deadlines

    1. Call/Proof of intent to participate August 15, 2021
    2. Selection of Quarter-finalists October 1, 2021
    3. Selection of Semi-finalists November 15, 2021
    4. URC 2021 Grand Challenge December 25, 2021

Important Deadlines

    1. Call/Proof of intent to participate August 15, 2021
    2. Selection of Quarter-finalists October 1, 2021
    3. Selection of Semi-finalists November 15, 2021
    4. URC 2021 Grand Challenge December 25, 2021

Registration for the URC2021, please fill the the Googe form .

Queries regarding the URC2021 may please be sent by email to urciisc2021@gmail.com