URC2022 News

2022 University Rover Challenge Crowns New Champion

After 3 days of incredible competition, the 2022 University Rover Challenge (URC2022) crowned its new champion, the Michigan Mars Rover Team from the University of Michigan in the United States! This was the first URC podium finish for the Michigan Mars Rover Team, and the first victory by a team from the United States since 2017.

The Michigan team was followed closely in a tight race by Monash Nova Rover (Monash University, Australia), and the Mars Rover Design Team (Missouri University of Science & Technology, United States). Monash Nova Rover's performance also represented the first podium finish by any Australian team. The Mars Rover Design Team was the last champion from the United States (2017).

  1. Michigan Mars Rover Team (University of Michigan, USA) - 388.97 points

  2. Monash Nova Rover (Monash University, AUS) - 380.55 points

  3. Mars Rover Design Team (Missouri University of Science & Technology, USA) - 370.71 points

The URC2022 Finals was the first in-person competition since 2019, after COVID-19 impacts forced the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 events. For URC, teams of college students design and build the next generation of Mars rover that will one day work alongside astronauts exploring the Red Planet. Teams and their rovers compete in 4 separate missions (Science, Extreme Retrieval and Delivery, Equipment Servicing, and Autonomous Navigation Missions) over 3 days at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in the Mars-like terrain of southern Utah. Mission scores are combined with scores from an earlier design review for the final standings.

The final scores for all 36 finalists are available at https://urc.marssociety.org/home/about-urc/urc2022-scores.

Relativity Space Joins as Sponsor for 2022 University Rover Challenge (May 20, 2022)

The Mars Society is excited to welcome Relativity Space as a sponsor of the University Rover Challenge!

Relativity Space is building humanity’s multiplanetary future. We invented a new approach to design, print, and fly our own rockets, starting with Terran 1 – the world’s first entirely 3D-printed rocket, set to launch into orbit for the first time ever this winter. As a vertically integrated technology platform, Relativity is at the forefront of an inevitable shift toward software-defined manufacturing. By fusing 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and autonomous robotics, we are pioneering the factory of the future. Disrupting 60 years of aerospace, Relativity offers a radically simplified supply chain, building a rocket with 100x fewer parts in less than 60 days. We believe in a future where interplanetary life fundamentally expands the possibilities for human experience. Our long-term vision is to upgrade humanity’s industrial base on Earth and on Mars.

We are actively hiring Summer 2023 interns and full-time employees in every department including Additive Development, Avionics & Integrated Software, Manufacturing, Powder-Based Additive Development, Vehicle Development, and more. Visit https://relativityspace.com.

36 Teams Advance to URC2022 Finals

After nearly 3 years since the last in-person University Rover Challenge Finals event, the stage has been set for 36 teams from 10 countries to compete at the URC2022 Finals, being held June 1-4, 2022 at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah!

A record 99 teams began the year competing for a coveted invitation to the URC Finals. Teams have battled through more than 2 years of COVID-19 impacts, including the latest surge that kept many teams off campus and away from their rovers in the weeks leading up to the System Acceptance Review deadline. The University Rover Challenge commends all of the participating teams for their hard work, dedication, and perseverance!

The 36 Finalists will now spend the next two and a half months refining their rovers and conducting advanced testing to prepare themselves for the field competition in one of the most extreme and Mars-like environments on Earth!

Symbotic Joins as Sponsor for 2022 University Rover Challenge (March 16, 2022)

The Mars Society is excited to welcome Symbotic as a sponsor of the University Rover Challenge!

Symbotic LLC is a robotics and automation-based technology platform transforming the movement of products through the consumer goods supply chain. Having spent more than a decade perfecting its warehouse automation technology the company has reimagined the supply chain of goods between manufacturers and consumers. Symbotic’s unique platform, with more than 250 issued patents, is an end-to-end system that reinvents every aspect of the warehouse and is fueled by a unique combination of proprietary software and a fleet of fully autonomous robots. The system enhances storage density, increases available SKUs, reduces product damage, and improves throughput and speed to customers. Symbotic is rapidly growing with a pipeline to build its transformative systems for Fortune 100 retailers and wholesalers in new and existing warehouses throughout the United States and Canada. For more information about Symbotic visit https://www.symbotic.com.

Mastercam Joins as Sponsor for 2022 University Rover Challenge (September 20, 2021)

The Mars Society is excited to welcome Mastercam as a sponsor of the University Rover Challenge!

Mastercam offers CAD/CAM software tools for a variety of CNC programming needs, from basic to complex. Due to their innovative, flexible solutions and top notch network of support, their software is a complete solution from the start of design through to manufacturing. Mastercam's CAD CAM software products take parts from design through to the production line. Program your manufactured parts with leading-edge features for precision and efficiency. Creating code to drive your CNC equipment is what Mastercam does best.

URC2022 Mastercam Sponsorship
Teams competing in URC2022 are eligible to receive Mastercam software to support their design and manufacturing processes! To register for your free software and support, visit https://www.mastercam.com/the-mars-society-rover-challenge.

Protocase Returns as Sponsor for 2022 University Rover Challenge (September 15, 2021)

The Mars Society is proud to welcome Protocase back as a major sponsor of the world-renowned University Rover Challenge!

All over the world, more than 16,000 engineers and designers in science and innovation depend on Protocase for custom-manufacturing electronic enclosures, sheet metal parts, machined parts and components in two to three days, with no minimum orders.

Instead of using critical design time and effort taking off-the-shelf enclosures, parts and components and modifying them fit your Mars rover design, all teams registered in the 2022 University Rover Challenge can harness Protocase's state-of-the-art manufacturing to get the exact parts they require.

URC2022 Protocase Sponsorship

The Protocase Sponsorship will be similar to the sponsorship offered in previous years:

  • Each URC team will receive $2,000 (USD) credit towards custom parts manufactured by Protocase for its Mars rover.
    Note: This $2,000 (USD) credit will NOT count towards a team's $18,000 rover budget limit (the URC Director has made the first $2,000 in sponsorship from Protocase an extension of the budget limit as outlined by Section 1.d.iii of the URC2022 Rules).

  • All teams will receive a 50% discount on all custom parts manufactured beyond the $2,000 (USD) credit.

Check out The Journey of the University Rover Challenge, which documents the experience of URC teams who worked with Protocase.

How Teams Can Work With Protocase

Once a team is registered for the 2022 University Rover Challenge, team leads or other team members can email info@protocase.com to be connected with their designated Protocase account manager.

To learn more about Protocase's custom sheet metal fabrication and CNC Machining, check out the company’s website, Proto Tech Tip videos and blog. Additional details regarding the Protocase manufacturing process and important design guidelines will be available to teams in the coming weeks.

Protocase and URC will also be teaming up again in 2022 to produce a webinar series featuring topics of interest and helpful educational topics related to URC! Stay tuned for more details.

2022 University Rover Challenge Rules Released (September 8, 2021)

The University Rover Challenge is excited to announce the release of the rules for URC2022!

Click here for the URC2022 rules

Registration for the 2022 competition will open in September, 2021, and will close on October 27, 2021. All registered teams will be required to submit a Preliminary Design Review package by December 3, 2021, and a System Acceptance Review milestone will follow on March 4, 2022. The top 36 teams will be selected to compete in the 2022 University Rover Challenge Finals, held June 1-4, 2022 at the renowned Mars Desert Research Station.

Teams and rovers will compete in 4 missions in 2021: the Science Mission, Extreme Retrieval and Delivery Mission, Equipment Servicing Mission, and Autonomous Navigation Mission. The rules for 2022 are very similar to the rules from the 2021 competition. A few of the updates include (but are not limited to):

  • During weigh-in, rovers must fit within a box that measures 1.2 m in all three dimensions (height was previously unbounded);

  • The Autonomous Navigation Mission has been updated to add increased importance to GNSS-based navigational accuracy;

  • The URC2022 Finals will feature an optional Drone Demo for aerial vehicles (this event is unscored, and imposes no impact to rover weight and budget limits).

It is important to note that URC2022 is being planned and will occur amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. At the time that the rules were published it is uncertain what the state of the pandemic will be in June, 2022 for the URC2022 Finals. As such, it is possible that the URC2022 Finals may need to be modified, or even cancelled, based on conditions at that time. Please note that the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) requires all visitors to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19! This will apply to all attendees of the URC2022 Finals, assuming that they are held. Teams should continue to monitor the URC website (including the COVID-19 page) for updates.