Dartmouth's Cool Robot is literally cool - it has to work autonomously in Greenland
Posted by David Brooks | Thursday, February 2, 2012
When you were in college, what sort of field work did you do? Tramping through the local woods for a biology lab is about as exotic as most of us got.
Then there are classes like the Dartmouth engineering group that flew to Summit Station on the Greenland ice over to the summer to test "Cool Robot", an autonomous robot being designed to wander in Greenland, keeping an eye on magnetic particules in the atmosphere. (It's better to do this at the poles, but alot easier and cheaper to do it in Greenland.) An undergraduate class that gets to go to Greenland! Sigh ....
The biggest problem faced by the design, according to a report published in the winter issue of autonomous-systems magazine ISSUU (you can read the story here) is staying mobile both on icy packed snow and in deep powder, surfaces that require different approaches. I have the same problem when I'm skiing.
Like most autonomous-vehicle/robot projects, Cool Robot seems an interesting exercise in balancing competing needs. Although come to think of it, almost everything in life is an interesting exercise in balancing competing needs.