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URC Announcement Regarding Final Standings

posted Jun 20, 2017, 5:25 AM by Kevin Sloan
Immediately following the release of the final scores for the 2017 University Rover Challenge (URC2017), the judges were notified of a potential error in the points recorded for the Continuum team (Uniwersytet Wrocławski; Poland) on the Autonomous Traversal Task.  The judges awarded Continuum 70 points for successfully completing five gates; however, the team indicated that their rover had successfully reached the sixth gate during their allotted time.

An initial review of the judges’ field notes was consistent with the 70 points awarded, although in the days following URC2017 judges were able to locate video taken during Continuum’s performance on the Autonomous Traversal Task.  This video review confirmed that Continuum did successfully reach the sixth gate, and earned 85 points during this task.  As a result, Continuum’s total score changed to 336.3, which earns them the second place position at URC2017.

During this detailed review, judges noted the incredibly close margins between the second and fifth place teams (just 21 points of separation).  The URC judges are pleased to announce that they have expanded the podium for URC2017 to the top five teams.  The PCz Rover Team (Częstochowa University of Technology; Poland) finished in third place, BYU Mars Rover (Brigham Young University; USA) finished in fourth, and Raptors (Lodz University of Technology; Poland) finished in fifth place.  The Mars Rover Design Team (Missouri University of Science and Technology; USA) became the first American team to win the competition since 2010.

“On behalf of the University Rover Challenge, I first want to apologize to the teams impacted by this issue,” commented Kevin Sloan, URC Director.  “Our entire judging team takes the scoring process very seriously, however we allowed an inadvertent accounting error to occur which affected the final results.  We have already begun discussions on process changes which we can implement to mitigate similar issues from occurring in the future.”

It is the policy of URC that all judges’ decisions in the field are final.  This case was particularly unique in that the Continuum team was told in the field that they earned 85 points, but the final score only reflected 70 points.  The Continuum team’s attempt on the Autonomous Traversal Course took place in the middle of the final day of the competition, as judges balanced long and busy days with incredibly hot weather conditions.  URC2017 hosted a record 35 teams and more than 500 students.

Updated final scores for 2017 can be found at http://urc.marssociety.org/home/about-urc/urc2017-scores.

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