Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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Graduate Student designs autonomous snowplow for competition

AEM Graduate student Hamid Mokhtarzadeh participated in the First Annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition held this past weekend in conjunction with the St. Paul Winter Carnival.   The Institute of Navigation (ION) sponsored competition brought six teams from various institutions across the Midwest.

autononmous snow plow

The snowplow in action.

Mokhtarzadeh along with three other UMN students from electrical and mechanical engineering made up were required to design a vehicle to autonomously plow snow from an “I” and “U” shaped path. Additionally each team presented their designs at the Science Museum of Minnesota in front of a panel of navigation and control professionals from both local and international companies.  The UMN team ranked second in their presentation and fourth in the overall competition.

The remainder of the competition was sectioned into two parts, one for each of the “I” and “U” shaped paths.  Each team utilized their own set of sensors for navigating the predefined paths autonomously.  These sensor systems included cameras, GPS, and laser based systems. 

The UMN team tested GPS, inertial sensors, sonar, and laser measurement systems as part of their navigation and guidance design process.  Ultimately a laser based system was implemented as part of a wall tracking algorithm to successfully plow both “I” and “U” snow paths; an accomplishment achieved only by two other teams. 

autononmous snow plow

Mokhtarzadeh (second from left), Prof. Demoz
Gebre-Egziabher(middle) and team

Mokhtarzadeh is a third year graduate student pursuing his PhD with the Systems Research group in AEM.  He’s received his Masters degree working with Prof. Gary Balas and will finish his PhD with Prof. Demoz Gebre-Egziabher as his adviser.




Last Modified: Tuesday, 01-Feb-2011 07:47:41 CST -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation