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Ohio State engineers join international unmanned robot contest

Researchers from Ohio State’s College of Engineering are participating in an international defense competition in November to develop unmanned ground vehicle systems for military or emergency uses.

Ümit Özgüner, professor of electrical and computer engineering, leads Ohio State’s participation with a team of researchers in Turkey in MAGIC 2010, the Multi Autonomous Ground-robotic International Challenge hosted by the Australia and U.S. Departments of Defense.

The teams will compete Nov. 8-13 to develop next-generation, fully autonomous ground vehicle systems that can be deployed effectively in military operations and civilian emergency situations. Ohio State researchers are members of Cappadocia, a team that is among six selected as finalists for the November contest at the Royal Showground in Adelaide, South Australia.

“This is a great international activity,” says Özgüner. “It all demonstrates the international recognition of engineering research at Ohio State. People want to work with us.”

MAGIC 2010 requires competitors to demonstrate the use of multi-vehicle robotic teams that can execute an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission in a dynamic urban environment. To complete the challenge competitors must accurately and completely explore and map the challenge area; correctly locate, classify and recognize all simulated threats; and complete all phases within 3.5 hours.

ASELSAN, a leading military electronics company in Turkey, serves as the coordinator for Team Cappadocia. The team includes representatives from three Turkish universities — Bogazici University, Middle East Technical University and Bilkent University — where at least one faculty member at each is an alumnus of Ohio State’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“Our group from Ohio State has had extensive experience and success in the recent Autonomous Vehicle Challenges organized by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. So ASELSAN wanted our help and involvement in Team Cappadocia,” Özgüner says.
 
Özgüner leads Cappadocia’s Ohio State members, who all conduct research in the Control and Intelligent Transportation Research Lab: Keith Redmill, a research scientist who is handling technical coordination and integration; John Martin, research engineer, who is in charge of simulator development; and graduate students (with their area of responsibility) Arda Kurt (high level control), Lina Fu (dynamic mission planner), Scott Biddlestone (software development/interfacing) and Emrah Adamey (sensor fusion/Simultaneous Localization and Mapping).

The Cappadocia team has dubbed each of its robots a “peri,” meaning “fairy” or “muse.”

“The place Cappadocia, the name of our team, is a world heritage area where there are very interesting shapes of stones. And people call them peri-like shapes, as they are formed incredibly,” says Neslihan Özlü, a Cappadocia team member from ASELSAN Project Management.