Community and Competition Shine at the 31st Annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Event

Community and Competition Shine at the 31st Annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Event
From Christine Newell
Communications Coordinator, RoboNation

OAKLAND, MICHIGAN – The clouds hugged the ground early on the final morning of the 31st Annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC). It was the perfect start as all the teams lined up for a group photo. The chill in the air brought excitement and energy as the teams broke off and prepped for their final day.

This four-day event welcomed 20 university teams competing in the competition’s two tracks, Auto-Nav and Self-Drive Challenge and Competition. The competition, which takes place annually at the University of Oakland in Oakland Michigan, brings together some of the brightest minds in university engineering. The first few days featured practice runs as the teams adjusted to the course, met and worked alongside fellow competitors, and introduced themselves to judges, staff, and industry experts.

This year, the competition took a challenging turn. Vehicles could only start from the north, with lanes remaining the same going to the south. This allowed teams the opportunity to perform better in the second half of the path, as it was a mirrored course. However, their engineering skills were tested in “No Man’s Land”, with construction barrels and two chicanes creating complexities that caused some robots to get turned around. There wasn’t a dull moment during the competition.

Over the years, the rules and the paths of the competition have always changed, but one thing that remains true for the IGVC community is all the fingerprints that help mold the competition together to make it what it is today. The competition started in 1993 with seven teams. Now, it is an international competition that continues to grow. The purpose of IGVC is to “offer a design experience that is at the very cutting edge of engineering education. It is a multidisciplinary, theory-based, hands-on, team implemented, outcome assessed, and based on product realization.” The experience from the competition also offers applications in the real world like military mobility, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), and manufacturing. Most importantly, it’s a great way to connect with others and a fun way to learn. 

All teams, including returning champions continue to impress the judges.

  • Auto-Nav Grand Award: The University of Oklahoma, Sooner Robotics
  • Self-Drive Grand Award: Lawrence Technological University.

Among the notable teams, one of the new entrants this year was from Egypt – Military Technical College (Egypt), Zoser, recipients of the Rookie of the Year award. Judges were impressed with their skilled run on the Auto-Nav course. Virginia Tech’s “Raphael” returned this year after a long break. The Cooper Union’s “G-Wagon” from New York brought their bright faces and artistic backgrounds, winning second place in both the Self-Drive Challenge and the Self-Drive Design Competition. Congratulations to all 20 IGVC teams who competed this year!

As the teams helped with the course takedown, the staff was reminded how much of this competition is truly a community effort. Regardless of team placements, many memories were made. As IGVC 2024 concludes, lessons were learned, contacts were made, and the drive for IGVC 2025 is even greater.

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