The ION's Satellite Division, North Star Section is proud to announce the recent successful completion of the Third Annual Autonomous Snowplow
Competition for 2014.
The purpose of this competition is to challenge university,
college students and the general public, to design, build, and operate a fully
autonomous snowplow to remove snow from a designated path.
competition is designed to encouraging individuals to utilize the state of the art in navigation and control technologies to rapidly, accurately, and safely clear a path of snow.
Obviously, to further the art of navigation generally.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL 2013 COMPETITORS!
The top-place finishers were:
1st Place: The Ohio University, Avionics Engineering Center
2nd Place: Miami University (of Ohio)
3rd Place: University of Michigan (Dearborn) - Team Yeti 3.0
4th Place: Case Western Reserve University
5th Place: University of Michigan (Dearborn) - Team Geili 2.0
6th Place: University of Minnesota (Twin Cities)
If you are interested in competing in 2014, please contact:
Suneel I. Sheikh Wayne Soehren
For more general information check out our website:
Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to design and operate
a snowplow vehicle that will autonomously clear snow from a path
• WIN cash prizes and awards for best vehicle design presentation and report
• WIN cash prizes and awards for most effective snow clearing
• HAVE fun and learn new science and technology stuff!!
The Institute of Navigation (ION) is the proud organizer of the Annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition. This
competition is operated by the ION 'North Star Section' based in Minneapolis, MN, and includes ION members
from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and western Wisconsin. ION’s
Satellite Division directly sponsors the competition.
The contest objective is for teams to design a snowplow that will autonomously clear snow from a pre-defined
field. The competition invites and challenges teams in high-performance autonomous vehicle guidance, navigation, and control. It is designed to encourage students that are interested of in the art of navigation and the
general areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Teams must build a vehicle to autonomously plow snow entirely from two snowfields in a set amount of time.
The two snowfields have a straight single ”I” shape and a double “I” shape. The teams can use augmentation
systems, such as visual cues or GPS, to aid the vehicle’s navigation system, however there will be no direct
human control of the snowplow during its competition run.
The competition invites teams from colleges and universities, and is also open to the general public. As student
involvement is a major objective of the competition, general public teams will be required to have at least one
student as a contributing member and presenter of their design in all competition events, and all team members must be 18 years or older.
The annual competition is held in conjunction with the Saint Paul Winter Carnival during January in St. Paul,
MN. The contest is a multi-day event during its competition week:
• Thursday – Teams present their final snowplow designs to a judge panel of industry
professionals, as well as a public audience
• Friday – Teams demonstrate their snowplow’s operability and safety features
• Saturday – First day of on-field competition, with teams clearing the single “I” snowfield
using their vehicles
• Sunday – Second day of on-field competition, with teams clearing the double “I” snowfield
using their vehicles
Judging occurs throughout the competition – from the on-paper design phase months in advance, through
the final day of the on-field competition. In the design phase, teams are evaluated on their snowplow designs
and skill in presenting their designs to the judges during a Preliminary Design Review. During the competition week, teams are judged on their final design, through reports and presentations, and their snowplow’s
performance removing snow on two different courses. Teams that accumulate the most points throughout the
competition will be awarded cash prizes and trophies for their success, including the prestigious Golden Shovel
Award for best student presentation and Golden Pen Award for best final report.
Dunwoody College’s Autonomous Snow Plow Competition team the Snow Devils took third place at
the 2011 ION organised event. The competition was sponsored by the Institute of Navigation and was part of the St. Paul Winter Carnival festivities.
Teams from Ohio University and Miami of Ohio University took first and second. Dunwoody came in third, beating out teams from University of Minnesota, University of Michigan and Wright State.
For the competition, the teams designed a robotic snow plow that had to remove snow from two fields. The first field was a straight line “I Field” which is meant to simulate a city sidewalk. The second field was a “U-Shape” which is far more challenging.
Congratulations to the Snow Devils: Michael Carnis (ASRO), James Jorgenson (MDES), Keith McClelland (ASRO), Joshua Moses (ASRO), Randy Taklo (ASRO) and Nigel Ystenes (ASRO). And many thanks to faculty members John McShannock, Tim Flugum and E.J. Daigle, who advised the team.
I-Shovel automatically detects the snow accumulation and cleans the drive way automatically. It has a built in computer to control the shoveling process and various sensors to figure out the perimeter. Unlike snow throwers that are usually used to clean snow after the storm, I-Shovel is designed to wake up and shovel snow when ever it senses reasonable accumulation of snow. This concept makes it possible to devise a shoveling mechanism with relatively low power consumption and no dangerous moving parts, enabling it to operate unattended. This is a convenience that was only available so far with heated drive ways which are much more expensive to own and operate.
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