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UIU Mars Rover team triumphs at University Rover Challenge 2022

UIU’s Mars rover – nicknamed “MAVEN” – placed 1st among Asian countries and 13th among 36 global finalists in the University Rover Challenge (URC) 2022. The event was organized by the Mars Society, an organization in US-based nonprofit that advocates and encourages human and robotic exploration on Mars, and also seeks to establish a permanent human presence on the Red Planet. The three-day global finale of the event took place June 2-4 at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah.

Before the final round, the UIU Mars Rover team competed with 98 other universities from around the world to secure a place in the final. MAVEN scored an outstanding score of 90.92 out of 100 to be selected as one of 36 finalists from 10 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, India, Poland, Colombia, Egypt, Mexico and Turkey.

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In the first round, the team had to submit a System Acceptance Review (SAR) video to the competition. This video focused on the different capabilities of the rover and its ability to perform a variety of missions such as terrain traversal and delivery, equipment maintenance, and autonomous mission. MAVEN also performed a variety of scientific tests where it analyzed soil and rock samples for the presence of life. The video also reviewed MAVEN’s main electronics and communications systems, as well as its testing and operating capabilities.

In the final round, the participating teams had to complete four missions in front of a jury. These included a scientific exploration mission, autonomous navigation, traversal of extreme terrain, and equipment maintenance. UIU’s Mars rover completed all four missions and became the most successful team in Asia.

The UIU Mars Rover team is made up of student members of the UIU Robotics Club. They come from different disciplines such as IT, engineering, and business. UIU CSE department professor Akib Zaman is the team leader and mentor while Rokib Hasan, a UIU CSE department student, is the team leader. The former head of UIU’s CSE department, Prof. Hasan Sarwar, is the team’s advisor. Under their supervision, the team is further divided into six sub-teams for various operations.

The journey to the top, however, was not without hard work, dedication and sacrifice. And no one knows that better than the team that has worked tirelessly to help MAVEN rise to the top.

“Forming the team was the first big challenge,” says Akib, team manager and mentor. “After that, we had to deal with the fact that the technology to make a rover is not readily available in Bangladesh. We had to find ways to import it from countries like China and the United States. United.”

Building a rover using imported hardware is no mean feat, especially when you think about it from a financial standpoint. However, UIU had it covered.

“Managing the funds for our project as well as the trip was one of our biggest concerns,” adds Akib. “Fortunately for us, our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dr Chowdhury Mofizur Rahman, took care of it. Thanks to his administrative skills and the support of the United group, we have not had to stop working on this project, while many other teams have fallen behind and failed to meet expectations due to lack of funds.”

The team’s advisor, Professor Hasan Sarwar, adds to this. “At URC, we needed a lot of money,” he says. “Not just for the rover itself, but also to cover various other costs. UIU bore the full cost without hesitation.”

“UIU wants to become a center of excellence in Asia,” says Professor Sarwar. “The university wants our students to do this not only by doing their studies better, but also by participating in extracurricular activities and research. Financial barriers are no problem for UIU, because the university and the United Group are more than willing to fund research and projects.”

And it shows how dedicated the university, its students and faculty are when it comes to moving forward in such avenues, especially with the efforts they have put behind the UIU Mars Rover. , and what they accomplished with it.

“Robotics and AI are the future of technology, and the developed world is already ahead in this area, while we are lagging behind,” says Professor Sarwar. “Hence the need to focus more on these areas, especially for those working or studying engineering.”

“The fact that we were able to bring our country to this point [in the URC 2022] gives me immense joy and pride,” he adds. “There were more experienced teams with better technology. Even then, we were able to surpass them. It shows that there is always an opportunity for us to exceed expectations in these competitions and cement Bangladesh’s name in space exploration.”

Professor Sarwar also believes the government can play a vital role in showcasing Bangladesh as a world leader in information technology. He is confident that the government will appreciate the efforts of the UIU and other universities in this area and help them on the journey ahead.

The success of the UIU Mars Rover team at URC 2022 proves once again that Bangladesh is no slouch when it comes to conquering new horizons. The enthusiasm to explore the vastness of outer space and its deepest secrets burns deep within us, especially our youth. MAVEN may not arrive on Mars today, but it will surely inspire and encourage our young people to push their limits and achieve the impossible one day.

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