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MBZIRC will bring teams from around the world to compete in March 2017

Abu Dhabi, December 14, 2016

Khalifa University, organizers of the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC), have announced that the competition will take place from March 16 – 18, 2017 at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.  This inaugural robotics challenge boasts prize winnings of 5 million USD, and will test the skills of some of the best robotics designers and programmers in the world.

The contest will inevitably take up a large area of the circuit since it will consist of three challenges and a triathlon type Grand Challenge.  Challenge 1 will require teams to use an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to locate, track and land on a moving vehicle.  This means that the UAV must be capable of locating the moving vehicle, navigating the path and speed of the vehicle and land on the target location while the vehicle is in motion. 

Challenge 2 requires an Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) to locate and reach a panel and physically operate a valve stem on it. It will require a UGV capable of navigating the path and locating the panel, identifying the valve, and choose the appropriate tool to close it. 

Challenge 3 requires a team of UAVs to work together in order to search, locate, track, pick up and place a set of still and moving objects. The Grand Challenge will require a team of robots (UAVs and UGVs) to compete in an event that combines challenges 1, 2 and 3 simultaneously.

“This will be a hard challenge,” said Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Khalifa University’s Executive Vice President. “It will require the teams to not only utilize most known robotics technology, but also invent new ones. Undoubtedly, the resulting technologies from this competition will drive robotics research for some time and, as a university dedicated to the advancement of research and development in engineering and technology, we are eager to see what the results are.”

He also said: “Khalifa University is proud to be the organizers of the first MBZIRC, and we look forward to seeing how it continues to grow in reputation and scope over the coming years.” 

The 45 teams selected to take part in the inaugural challenge come from leading universities and international organizations such as the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the National University of Singapore, Xi'an Jiaotong University and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, the Mohamed Bin Rashed Space Center, Accelerated Dynamics from the UK, and NaviRobot LLC from Russia. 

In addition to teams from the UAE, UK and USA, teams from Italy, Germany, KSA, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, South Korea, and Spain where chosen from over 316 teams from 45 countries, who expressed their interest in participating in the Challenge, which is scheduled to take place in March 2017, with prizes totaling $5 million USD.