CREATE dominates droid racing competition

CREATE, a UNSW Engineering student society, wins first place in the inaugural droid racing competition!

The Student-led team CREATE took home the trophy at the inaugural droid racing competition held this week at the University of Queensland. The team of six’s droid was the first to complete the entire ‘agility’ track with their autonomous vehicle.

This is the droid you are looking for!The goal of the competition was to design and build a small, autonomous vehicle that could race around an outdoor obstacle course against another vehicle. Teams were not allowed to control their cars – once on the track, the car had to drive itself!

The competition emphasised computer vision and image processing as the main way to detect the obstacles and the environment.

In the tense build up to the competition, many teams had excellent performances on an indoor test track. However, the event proved to be more challenging than anticipated for everyone. Dealing with changing lighting conditions, shadows, glare and surface textures presented significant challenges for CREATE’s image processing software.

We asked Lachlan Boyle, team leader of the victorious UNSW team, about what he learnt from the competition, and about his experience at CREATE. Despite facing these monumental issues, CREATE blitzed through the round robin stages, being the first team to complete the entire track and beating all of its Queenslander competitors with ease. They went on to convincingly beat QUT Team 1 in the semi-finals, and vanquished the University of Queensland in a closely fought final.

I joined the CREATE society because it’s full of like-minded people who enjoy designing and building things relevant to my Mechatronics engineering program.

Lachlan Boyle, CREATE

Lachlan says he learnt a lot about working with others. “Having never worked on a project with a large number of people before, I learnt that teamwork and communication is a fundamental and powerful component of any project. Relating to the robot itself, the ability to debug and find intermittent faults also proved to be surprisingly important.”

Being part of a Student-led Project was a meaningful experience for Lachlan. “I joined the CREATE society because it’s full of like-minded people who enjoy designing and building things relevant to my Mechatronics engineering program. It provided the means to apply some of the academic skills I had learnt throughout my time at UNSW to more hands-on projects. Also, since becoming an executive in the society, it has let me develop experience in working within an organisation, managing people, funding, projects and events.” 

 

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