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Robotics Team Learns Key Lessons at IGV Competition

UC Robotics teams returned home from the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC) with great experience and many lessons learned.

Date: 7/18/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Liz Daubenmire
Other Contact: Arthur Davies
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-9181

UC ingot  
IGV Competition
Both UC teams after successful presentation of the legacy “Bearcat Cub” and “Dokalman” robots.

Teammate Byron Hutchins’ Facebook post captures the action of the IGV Competition:

“Team Bearcat Cub has battled through hardware failures (accursed GPS!) and programming bugs and was in a race to make it to the qualifying round!
Though the effort was valiant, Team Bearcat Cub fell short of the goal. One foot short exactly. The Cub stopped directly in front of the way point, and began to travel to it's next destination with out actually hitting the way point.

A groan of disdain resounded through the field as our supporters and fellow competitors cheered us on. It was absolutely heartbreaking.
Team Dokalman, our new robotic platform this year, also suffered devastating setbacks. Resource constrictions left our electric system vulnerable to overdrawing power and blowing relays. Unfortunately, it took the stress test of IGVC for us to notice this problem, and fixing it required a wiring redesign, which ate an enormous amount of time. Poor Dokalman barely had a chance to compete in the AutoNav Challenge.

IGV Competition
Professor Talaga (Left, seated), Pat Fadden, Abhyudaya (standing) and Ken Fechter check system programming prior to presenting Dokalman to the review panel.

Dokalman got a great response from judges in the Design Competition! Even in Version 1.0, the judges enjoyed how we focused on accessibility in order to allow the more members to work on the bot developing their skills. Tremendous success in that effort! From freshman to doctoral students, our team spanned the full spectrum, and everyone gained tremendous experience.

The regenerative breaking and new motor controller got high praise as well. Excellent proof of concept, now time for adaptations and refinements.
Valuable lessons learned (ingrained hopefully) about planning, testing, and communication. New plans already in the works for the bots to be even better.
We are a more cohesive, experienced team now with a larger more varied talent pool than any other school. No one had the plethora of skills we did.
Now, under the leadership of Captain Brownbeard (Formerly known as Chris Crowell), we shall rise to the occasion fully utilizing all of our abilities.
Next year we show them what happens when the claws come out.

Juncta Juvant; Alta Petit.
Team Bearcat Cub - Curtis Schumacher, Douglas Flick, Jeremy Cox,Garvin Yu, Ahbynday Upaelhyay,
Team Dokalman - Chris Crowell, Kenneth Fechter, Joe Knight, Patrick Fadden, Xianyyu Zhang, Byron Niles Hutchins

IGV Competition
Patrick Fadden and Ken Fechter feverishly write code for Dokalman prior to Design Presentation.

Special shout out and thank out to Andrew Robb who couldn't travel due to a paper work error. We appreciated all your hard work and missed you greatly at competition! Next year for sure buddy!

We owe an enormous thanks to our adviser Paul Talaga for helping us make it to competition. Your harsh yet compassionate lessons are invaluable. Let's keep pushing things to the next level. Properly.

Full team, we are coming back with a massive amount of information, and a passionate fire only derived from not reaching one's ambitions while having to watch others attain them.
Get ready humans, the robots are coming.

-The Executive Board, University of Cincinnati Robotics Team”

The UC robotics team didn’t let their setbacks stand in the way of leaving with more knowledge and confidence for next year’s competition. While they returned trophy-less this time, next years IGV Competition entry will surely be enhanced from this year’s experience.

For more information on the IGV Competition, please visit: