Ski robots with various skiwear and woolen hats went down slopes of Welli Hilli Park on the 12th. Although there were robots that went down entire slopes, there were also many robots that could not go pass between two flags. ‘Ski Robot Challenge’, which took place at Welli Hilli Park in Gangwon-do on the 12th, had eight different types of robots competing for supremacy in skiing.
Free mission, which was the main event of this competition, was composed of three rounds that took place at 10 A.M., 11 A.M., and 2 P.M. It was an event where robots needed to ride their skis and come down 80 meters of slopes and go between flags (gates) in zigzag motion without any human help. Ranking was set based on how many times they went between through the gates. If two or more robots all went between all five gates, a robot that came down a slope would win. If two or more robots all went between all five gates and came down slopes at the same time, a robot that was the tallest would win as it is harder to control a taller robot.
Bone-chilling weather is an environment that is also harsh on robots just like on any person as robots can have difficulties in controlling their speed if slopes become icy due to weather. Even though many robots recognized where gates were, they fell down due to acceleration. Flags that were shaking extremely hard due to wind negatively affected robots’ recognition of their speed and accuracy.
Robots needed to accurately recognize where gates were located if they were to go down their courses without failures. They needed to accurately control their directions, speed, and power. Even if their optimum speed went little over their limits, they ended up falling. There were some cases when they were confused of skiers with gates. There were various technologies just like number of different robots that were applied in order to overcome such circumstances.
‘Taekwon V’, which was developed by Mini Robot, passed through gates by recognizing colors and sizes of flags through images. It was able to maintain its optimum speed through its motor and GPS that were developed by Mini Robot. Korea Institute of Robot and Convergence’s ski robot called ‘SKIRO’ combined a stereo camera and a visual sensor called ‘LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), which is used for self-driving cars, and had higher stability in recognizing location of flags. By creating its own map, it was able to understand where itself is located and controlled its speed.
‘DIANA’ developed by Hanyang University was applied with ‘Deep Learning’ technology, which is an AI (Artificial Intelligence) methodology used for AlphaGo, to accurately recognize location of flags. Hanyang University put in a lot of effort into ‘DIANA’ such as carrying out off-season training through crowd funding.
Seoul National University of Science & Technology’s ‘Rudolph’ was the tallest robot at this competition with a height of 160cm and it drew heads with its radius of rotation applied with theories on ski. Besides these robots, Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology’s ‘RiBo’ that implemented high center of gravity just like humans, Kyungpook National Universit’s ‘ALEXI’ that imitated a structure of a human leg, Myongji University’s ‘MHSRP’ that is installed with a joint torque sensor, and ‘RoK-2’, which was developed by undergraduates from Kookmin University, showed off their characteristics.
At the end of the competition that was filled with intense competitions and bad weather, Taekwon V eventually took the first place while SKIRO came really close to winning the first place but took the second place. Both robots drew heads with their accurate recognition abilities and stable rides.
This competition was a competition that was set up to look at possibilities of robots rather than completeness of robots. Due to various variables, there were more robots that failed to complete entire courses. However, participants diligently worked to improve their robots after every round for faster and more accurate rides. It will not be too long before we see self-driving robots in various environments.
Staff Reporter Oh, Daeseok | firstname.lastname@example.org