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NDSU students take third place in snowplow competition

A team of NDSU students finished in third place during the eighth annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition at the St. Paul Winter Carnival Jan. 27-28. The NDSU team, named THUNDAR 3.0, received a bronze snow globe and a $2,000 prize to put toward next year’s project.

The competition encourages students and individuals to use state-of-the-art navigation and control technologies to rapidly, accurately and safely clear snow.

The team was represented at the competition by students Abdullah Almosalami, Andrew Vetter, Miguel Jara and Rachel Jones.

“We had a bit of a rocky start on Friday with a motor controller cable not working, and we had a sleepless night or two before we got to St. Paul. But, overall it was fun for the whole team,” said Vetter. “We'd like to thank all the people who supported us, including the mechanical engineering department, Bison Robotics, NDSU college of engineering, the Jones family for housing at the competition and, most importantly, the faculty who taught us.”

The teams created autonomous snowplows using GPS, lasers or optical navigation to build a machine to clear a path in a snowfield, in patterns similar to sidewalks and driveways. Teams were judged on how much snow was removed, the speed of the work and how their machine reacted to obstacles.

A total of eight teams from universities in the region took part in the competition.

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North Dakota State University
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