NASA announced last week that Honolulu Community College was selected as one of 21 teams to compete in the NASA Swarmathon Virtual Competition, along with the University of Hawai‘i Hilo and Maui College. We will follow the students leading up to the competition. Stay tuned!
The NASA Swarmathon is a competition to develop cooperative robotics to revolutionize space exploration. The First Annual Swarmathon, will occur April 18-22, 2016 at NASA Kennedy Space Center. Students from minority serving Universities and Community Colleges will be challenged to develop search algorithms for robotic swarms. This technology promises to more effectively and efficiently locate and collect resources on the Moon or Mars. 12 teams representing 14 schools were selected to compete in the Swarmathon’s Physical Competition.
The goal of the NASA Swarmathon competition is to develop integrated robotic platforms that improve resource retrieval rates by 2–4 fold, compared to the same number of robots operating without cooperation, and orders of magnitude faster than solitary robots. For example, 20 Swarmies can travel and search 42 km of linear distance in 8 hours without recharging; that’s the distance covered in a marathon, and the same distance traveled by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity in 11 years.
In addition to being the most effective way to scour large territories for resources, robotic swarms are more robust, flexible, scalable than monolithic robots operating alone. This nascent swarm robotics technology can be vastly improved by combining new algorithms, novel hardware and sensors, and traditional computational techniques for search, learning and data aggregation.
Congratulations to Team #HonCC and good luck in your preparation for the competition!