A team of six RMIT engineering students have won a highly-competitive national robotics competition in Sydney.
The National Instruments Autonomous Robotics Competition (NI ARC) is a student robotics competition designed to encourage development and innovation.
The competition challenged 24 teams from Australia, New Zealand and Singapore to create a self-driving car that is able to navigate its way through a mini model city, without getting stuck, running into obstacles or losing its passengers.
Dr Glenn Matthews from the School of Engineering said the win was the result of a lot of hard work by team Ferrum Carrus.
"After spending months in development, I was really impressed how the RMIT team developed a creative solution to the challenge," Matthews said.
"The competition’s theme was smart transportation and students were encouraged to look ahead to the future to figure out how robotic engineering can provide solutions to some of our trickiest transportation issues."
The winning team of undergraduate engineering students were Genevieve Houghton, Adrian McLean, Joshua Robertson, Matthew Pulis, Christopher Sayon and Yuchen (Raymond) Wei.
Each brought a special skill to the group and team leader, Genevieve Houghton said this was key to their success.
"Our varying skill sets complemented each other well, covering the areas of mechanical design, programming, circuitry, and electronics," Houghton said.
"What set our robot apart from the others was its ability to tackle the obstacles successfully and to do that we prioritised accuracy over speed. In a real self-driving car, this would correspond to a safer vehicle.
"Applying all that we have learned in the classroom to a real-world application has helped to consolidate our knowledge – and winning the competition has been really rewarding.
"We now have confidence in our abilities to respond to a brief and have already come up with design improvements for future iterations of the robot."
As first prize recipients, two members of team Ferrum Carrus will head off to the National Instruments conference in Austin, Texas in 2018.