“Experience of BYU team at the 2007 University Rover Challenge.


Authors,  Carlos Pozo, Miles Atkinson, Nyssa Brown, Travis Brown, Catherine Henry, Graham M. Henry,  Neil S. Hinckley, David Jones, Jenni L. Miles,  Todd A. Reeder, Robert Lawton, David D. Allred.

N283 ESC, Brigham Young University, Provo UT 84602



In September 2006 the Mars Society issued the University Rover Challenge. A group of BYU undergraduate students (most juniors) responded to the challenge by designing and then building a rover called HAL which competed in the challenge in early June gaining second place.  It is light weight and designed with a low center of gravity and very fast.  More than 15 students from several majors, including mechanical engineering, geology and computer science contributed to the project.   Important features about the rover include:

  1. Li-polymer Batteries
  2. Aluminum frame
  3. Canvas covering which holds the batteries, transmitters and computer.
  4. Four wheels (ganged so that the two on one side could run independently) 
  5. Large tires
  6. Commercial robot arm used. 

In addition, intuitive remote control of the rover was achieved through the rover's driver seeing 3D from the rover.  Two driving cameras were mounted on the front of the rover.  Stereovision glasses were modified to bring the video of each camera to a separate eye.  The three-inch space between the cameras allowed for a realistic view of the surroundings.


We will discuss the rover, the unfolding of the project and its performance at the University Rover Challenge in 2007, highlighting strengths and weaknesses of its features.  Our presentation shows video clips and pictures of the Rover and the MDRS.  We will also discuss the interaction between the engineers and scientists in an undergraduate educational setting which may be helpful in other settings. Project Funding was from Brigham Young University, through contributions via alumni and friends (including David M. Bushman, and Dean and Alice Allred), and the NASA Rocky Mt. Space Grant Consortium. The rover HAL. will also be in attendance.”