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Team Red Blade wins second place in ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition

02/12/2013

Team Red Blade won second place in the Third Annual ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition. Left to right: Bob Cole, Mark Carroll, Richard Marcus and Chad Sobota
Team Red Blade won second place in the Third Annual ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition. Left to right: Bob Cole, Mark Carroll, Richard Marcus and Chad Sobota
A team of Miami electrical and computer engineering students from Miami University won $4,000 and second place in the third annual ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition held Jan. 24-27 in St. Paul, Minn.

The purpose of the competition, founded by the Institute of Navigation (ION), is to challenge university and college students to design, build, and operate a fully autonomous snowplow to remove snow from a designated path. Students are encouraged to use state-of-the-art navigation and control technologies to rapidly, accurately and safely clear a path of snow.

Eight teams competed in the Autonomous Snowplow competition Jan. 24-27 during the St. Paul Winter Carnival
Eight teams competed in the Autonomous Snowplow competition Jan. 24-27 during the St. Paul Winter Carnival
Due to minimal snowfall in St. Paul during the competition, snow had to be delivered to the competition site from a local ice arena, according to competition organizers.

The eight competing teams presented different vehicle design approaches. Several teams used laser navigation sensors; others used wheel encoders and inertial measurement units, and a couple used image processing of the local visual field. Team Red Blade used a differential GPS system for navigation on a platform that can plow snow or mow grass.

Team Red Blade receives their award and the Silver Snow Globe trophy
Team Red Blade receives their award and the Silver Snow Globe trophy
Team Red Blade members are Chad Sobota, senior double major in electrical engineering and computer engineering; Richard Marcus, junior electrical engineering major; and Robert Cole (Miami ’12) and Mark Carroll (Miami ’12), both first-year master’s degree students in computational science and engineering. Cole and Carroll are advised by Jade Morton, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Morton, adviser of Team Red Blade, is the 2012-2014 chair of the ION Satellite Division.

Sobata, Cole and Carroll were also part of Team Red Blade in the 2012 Autonomous Snowplow and Autonomous Lawnmower Competitions - the team won second place in each.

The four-day competition ran in conjunction with the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

The winning teams were selected based on their total score including written reports, presentations and competition results.

Ohio University’s team M.A.C.S. won first place and $5,0000; the University of Michigan’s team Yeti 3.0 won third place and $3,000.

Team Red Blade was “a very close second place. Our students did all the work and I am so proud of them,” Morton said.

View a “Sound Slide” of Red Blade team members as they prepared for the competition:




Team Red Blade was supported by Miami’s office for the advancement of research and scholarship.

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