University of Alabama hosts 2023 National Robotic Mining Challenge

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Avery Lake

Thursday was the second to last day of the 2023 Robotic Mining Challenge and the competition is fierce.

Teams from 24 universities across the country traveled to Tuscaloosa to compete in the challenge. Teams are to attempt to build a fully autonomous robot that can traverse a lunar-simulated arena and collect soil from the ground. Each team’s robot is tested everyday while the final drafts of their robots are being built. Madison Chambliss is a team member from the Alabama team. She and has worked hard these past couple of days.

“We’re on the second to last day of Caterpillar’s robotic mining challenge 2023. The goal is to build a robot of a certain size and mass that can dig through about a foot of overburden to get to some gravel and hopefully do it as autonomously as possible,” said Chambliss.

Chambliss started robotics four years ago and is now her team’s leader. She has a message for young robotics enthusiasts.

“If you’re interested in robotics in general, it doesn’t have to be space robotics or even excavating, but if you’re interested in it, stick your head in learn what you need to know. I’m a systems person. I don’t really know the electrical stuff, but I put my head in there to try and figure stuff out. If you’re interested and willing to be there, people will be willing to teach you. You can learn and bring in as much knowledge as you can and hit the ground running,” said Chambliss.

Caterpillar is the sponsor of this event and the purpose of this event is to create solutions to the problems faced on our moon exploration missions.

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