This September, 16 of the world’s best student teams will present their rovers in an elite robotics competition finals – European Rover Challenge. Among them, on the largest artificial Marsyard in the world, we will see representations of 7 countries, including: Switzerland, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Bangladesh, Spain and Poland. As every year, the jury tasked the participants with requirements similar to those presented by the largest space agencies.
The Martian competition is not the only attraction waiting for the visitors of the event. The ERC 2022 program will include interesting interdisciplinary debates on the future of human settlement on the Red Planet, the survival of first astronauts in permanent lunar bases, as well as important topics related to the commercialization and use of space technologies on Earth. At the same time, visitors to the event will be able to see live modern robotic solutions, experience 3D movies explaining the phenomenon of the aurora borealis or describing the structure of Jupiter’s ice rings, as well as drive a rover and perform a task resembling a real Mars mission.
This year’s speakers include: Gianfranco Visentin – Head of the Automation and Robotics Section of the European Space Agency, Professor Grzegorz Wrochna – President of the Polish Space Agency, Artemis Westenberg – CEO of Explore Mars Europe, Maria Antonietta Perino – Director of Space Economy Exploration and International Network at Thales Alenia Space, or Dr. Gernot Groemer – Founder and Administrative Director of the Austrian Space Forum.
Thanks to broadcasts and social media coverage, the ERC can be joined by audiences from all over the world. Last year’s edition of the event was attended by nearly half a million people from the farthest corners of the globe. This year, the competition will be held from 9 to 11 September and, as in previous years, it will be conducted in two formulas: on-site, in which robots constructed by the teams will take part, and a unique remote formula in which competitors from all over the world will connect remotely to the Leo Rover mobile robot and robotic arm, located at the Kielce University of Technology. The participants of the remote formula of the competition will be announced in August, after qualifications.
European Rover Challenge is held under the patronage of the European Space Agency and the Polish Space Agency. The event has also been supported over the years by the presence of the astronauts of NASA and heads of robotics departments of ESA, representatives of the European Union Space Program Agency EUSPA, as well as international organizations and space companies. Starting this year, the event is also under the patronage of the International Astronautical Federation.
The co-organizers of this year’s ERC are the European Space Foundation and Kielce University of Technology. Once again Kielce is the Host City of the event, and the event’s Partners are, among others, Mars Society Poland, Poznan University of Technology, Polish Space Professionals Association, Polish Space Industry Association, Kell Ideas, Freedom Robotics, Pokojowy Patrol and the American corporation MathWorks and Mastercam.
The project is partially financed by the “Social Responsibility of Science” program of the Minister of Education and Science.
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