KOCHI: A young team of deep-dyed robot buffs from the state are over the moon, and rightly so! They are among the finalists of the International Robotic Challenge - HRATC 2015 - organised by IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, slated to be held in Portugal on May 26.
Zephyr, finalist in the challenge, was formed by Qbotics Labs, a company having expertise in autonomous navigation in mobile robots and headed by Lentin Joseph, and Kamil Kafoor, a mechanical engineering student. The competition was conducted as part of ICRA 2015, which is the biggest conference in the world for robotics and automation.
“It doesn’t get any bigger than this,” said a beaming Lentin Joseph. “The aim of the challenge was to detect landmines from a random area using a robot named Husky. The robot should perform autonomous navigation, detection of mines and report it to the judges. There were five finalists for this challenge, including National University of Singapore, University of Texas, University of Nebraska and Zephyr is in the second position among these teams,” he said.
“Kamil had registered for the challenge and he successfully completed the Algorithm phase, the primary stage. In this phase, we need to submit an algorithm about what we are going to do in this challenge. He was selected in this phase and the next two levels were simulation phase and testing phase,” Lentin says.
“In both these stages, we have to use Robot Operating system(ROS) and simulator called Gazebo. The assistance of Qbotics Labs is vital for implementing the next stages. After forming the team, we completed the simulation phase in ROS and also updated the algorithm for navigation. Though it was challenging for us, we cleared this stage. Next stage was testing phase, we have to remove the simulator section and deploy our code in real hardware. We completed it and reached the finals,” Kamil said. “As Qbotics Labs focuses mainly on autonomous navigation in mobile robots, this challenge will be an important milestone in our career too,” said Lentin.