Robo-Miners Are ROCKIN’! Set School Record!

IGVCSUN_3105.jpgWhat a spectacular rally, and Grandma, what big smiles the team is wearing!
S&T got things worked out last night and qualified for the IGVC obstacle course early this morning, only the 18th team out of 43 to do so. By 10:00 a.m. JΩTron was scooting around the course like a three-year-old chasing butterflies, only with more control. The drive batteries are all topped off, redesigning the drive system is paying huge dividends, and in its first attempt JΩTron sprinted 174 feet down the obstacle course, obliterating Aluminator’s 2010 distance of ,uh, nineteen inches*. Even better news? It did this with the GPS systems temporarily disconnected, so once all is back on track JΩTron should do even better!
It the ‘bot’s second heat it stayed between the lines and swept past barrel after barrel until something caused it to veer off course. Most of the other machines running in heat #2 barely got one third as far as the Miners, so things are looking very good. It will be very tough to crack the leader board because half a dozen teams have been running since yesterday afternoon, but they’ve got nearly 5 hours left to improve.
In the meantime, some schools are dropping out and heading home early. Maybe due to indecipherable code, disastrous mechanical failure, or both. One unlucky team had their robot catch fire. The real issue? It was in the college van while the team was headed to Oakland University. Seems their batteries shifted and shorted out on the chassis, quickly filling the van with smoke. They managed to douse the flames on the side of the road, and even rebuilt the machine at IGVC, but that consumed so much of their time they failed to qualify.
More to follow in a few hours.
* In all fairness, the 2010 Miners got the AI systems worked out very late in the competition, so when the machine hit the course its batteries were completely shot. It happens.