ROV SO HARDThe UKURC is pleased to announce the teams that will be taking part in the first ever UK University Rover Challenge, which takes place July 23-24 in Manchester.

“The UK challenge is unique, in that it’s an outdoor event in the centre of a large city, taking over a busy public space” explains UKURC Director, Rob Adlard.

Cathedral Gardens Layout“In order to raise the profile of this area of robotics, the Mars Society, and space exploration in general, we decided to create this particular format for our competition. We hope it will provide a great event for competitors and spectators, especially as it takes place as an official part of the European City of Science 2016, and part of European Science conference ESOF.”

ESOF is the European Science Open Forum http://www.esof.eu/. This is a major international science conference, with thousands of delegates from all around the world visiting the city during the same weekend that UKURC is taking place.

The Final List of Competitors:

  • University of Western England, UK
  • Carleton University, Canada
  • Amrita University, India
  • Gdansk University, Poland
  • Warsaw University, Poland
  • Misr University for Science and Technology, Egypt
  • Pokhara University, Nepal
  • United International University, Bangladesh
  • BUBT, University of Business and Technology, Bangladesh
  • BRAC, Bangladesh
  • Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh
  • Dhaka University of Engineering and Technology (DUET), Bangladesh
  • University of Texas, as Arlington, USA (Reserve – may not attend)

Partly due to the unusual location and format, the field of teams is smaller than the US competition, but it does include an excellent spread of teams from different geographical locations – perhaps the most diverse of any similar competition, and for the first time ever a UK entrant to a Mars Society rover competition; the University of Western England. Based in Bristol, the UWE team leader is MSc robotics student, Alex Thompson. It doesn’t seem like they’ll let the burden of expectation weigh on them “We’re really are happy to be a part of this competition, and just excited about the challenges it will present” says Alex.

Mars Society US Executive Director, Lucinda Offer adds: “It’s a really positive thing to see the first UK team taking part in a challenge such as this, and we hope that next year other universities will be inspired by the UK trailblazers, UWE led by Alex.”

The UKURC is to help the excellent work going on in UK universities to connect up with the passion and excitement that space exploration has to offer. Students in the UK can have every expectation of being as involved in that career path as students from any other country, if not more so, and we hope this is the beginning of something big.

Watch this space!