US and Australia dominate MAGIC robot competition short list

Joint military robot competition by US Department of Defense and Australia's Defence Science & Technology Organisation (DSTO) ramping up

Robots from the US and Australia dominate the shortlist of entries for the first round of the Multi-Autonomous Ground-robotic International Challenge (MAGIC), sponsored by the US Department of Defense and Australia's Defence Science & Technology Organisation (DSTO).

The competition was first launched in July and aims to help foster robotic innovation while developing the next generation of military robots.

Out of 23 entries, 12 have been short-listed with five from the US, four from Australia, and one each from Canada, Japan and Turkey. Other entries were received from Poland and South Korea.

“The quality of the submissions was very strong and exceeded our expectations. Consequently, twelve teams have been selected to progress their projects to the next stage of the challenge,” Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, Greg Combet, said in a statement.

“Ten of these teams will receive $US50,000 to develop their proposals instead of the original plan to fund only five teams. The remaining two teams have the opportunity to self-fund their projects.”

The list – which is made up of predominantly partnerships between universities like the University of Adelaide and companies such as General Dynamics – will be cut back further in June 2010 with five entries receiving an additional $US50,000 to complete their projects for a "Grand Challenge Event" to be held in South Australia in November 2010.

(See a video: Robotics and virtual reality on show in Tokyo or check out the way the Royal Australian Mint uses robots in its operations.)

The full shortlist is:

Australia
  • Magician: University of Western Australia (Robotics and Automation Laboratory, Adaptive Systems Research Group), Flinders University (Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems Laboratories), Edith Cowan University (Artificial Intelligence and Software Engineering Cluster), Thales Australia (D3S&A, Naval Division), ILLIARC Pty Ltd.

  • Strategic Engineering (An Australian robotics company specialising in advanced sensing, vision systems, autonomous vehicles, industrial robotics and field robotic platforms), with the University of Adelaide.

Canada

  • Northern Hunters: Comprising Amtech Aeronautical Ltd, Scientific Instrumentation Ltd, Royal Military College of Canada.

Japan

  • Chiba Team: Comprising Chiba University and Analytical Software Inc.

Turkey

  • Cappadocia: Comprising ASELSAN (Turkish military electronics company) with Bilkent University, Bogazici University, Middle East Technical University from Turkey, and Ohio State University (Control & Intelligent Transportation Research Lab) of the USA.

USA

  • Reconnaissance and Autonomy for Small Robots Team (RASR): Robotic Research, LLC with Industry Partners: General Dynamics Robotic Systems, Qinetic-NA, Del Services, Cedar Creek Defence University, Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, University of Michigan.

  • Team Cornell: Cornell University (School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.)

  • Team Michigan: Comprising SoarTech with research support from the University of Michigan.

  • Virginia Tech: Department of Mechanical Engineering.

  • University of Pennsylvania: With BAE Systems as auxiliary team members.

Teams shortlisted for self-funding

Australia

  • Numinance: Comprising Numinence Pty Ltd and LaTrobe University with support from ten small companies.

  • University of New South Wales (UNSW): Teaming with Kumamoto University, Japan, and University of Western Sydney.

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More about: ARC, BAE Systems, Cowan, Creek, Edith Cowan University, Edith Cowan University, Flinders University, Flinders University, General Dynamics, Mellon, Mint, Transportation, University of Adelaide, University of New South Wales, University of New South Wales, University of Western Australia, University of Western Sydney, University of Western Sydney, UNSW
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