BRAC University Mongol Tori, a next-generation Mars rover, has ranked 3rd in University Rover Challenge (URC). The rover, which tends to walk alongside human explorers on the red planet someday, has the ability to retrieve objects, complete autonomous traversal missions, collect visual data, perform planetary analysis, detect the presence of life by conducting biosignature tests and help astronauts with equipment servicing.
The young minds directly associated with this project are Firoz Wadud, team leader and electronics sub-team lead, along with sub-team leaders Ashik Adnan (software and control), Hasib Islam (network and communications), Shahriar Hossain (research, documentation and science), Raihan Rahman (management), Mashiat Mamun Raidah (design), and team members Salman Eunus (software and control), Hasibul Alam (mechanical) Nefaur Rahman Labib (software and control) and Musa Ahammed Mahin (electronics).
The team regards Mongol Tori as a national asset, which can also be used to aid the people in Bangladesh. This invention is also an inspiration to young scientists who want to innovate and create. "It proves that our students have the potential but they need the scope to explore" shared Dr Khalilur Rhaman, Associate Professor, Department of CSE, BRAC University and Advisor of BRACU Mongol-Tori who guided the team at all times and encouraged to stretch their expectations.
Dr Golam Rabiul Alam and Saiful Islam proved to be great motivational forces. Research assistant, Zahirul Islam and team mentor Ahsan Sayel made sure that correct ideas were being implemented, and Monir Hasan and Mizanur Rahman was a big support while dealing with mechanical setups and test runs, mentioned the team.
Four rescue bots besides the rover were also introduced. The robots have six degrees arm-freedom function which serves as a fitting bot in terms of rescuing and retrieving rescue items cases on unexpected disasters such as building collapses. They also come with custom made wheels, making it able to move rough terrains and reach places that general vehicles cannot. "Robots are like physical manifestations of the codes we write. Each one turns out more beautiful than before," shared mentor Ekhwan Islam passionately when asked about the robot and the whole experience.
BRACU Mongol Tori became the 1st runner up in National ICT Awards 2018, 2nd runner up in Indian Rover Challenge (IRC) 2018 and secured 7th position in Indian Rover Challenge (IRC), 2020. It also secured the 13th position in University Rover Challenge (URC) 2018, 18th position in University Rover Challenge (URC) 2017, and 2nd position in Digital World Expo 2017. Alongside these successes, BRACU Mongol Tori also bagged the Space Innovation Summit Award, 2018 and received appreciation from ROBI and BASIS Soft Expo-2019. The invention also qualified for University Rover Challenge (URC). Sadly, the competition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, according to the SAR results, 2020, they managed to secure the 3rd position globally. "We aim at continuing our research and keep representing Bangladesh in international events like URC," said the team.
Apart from innovating the rover and improving the existing skills, the team also took necessary measures to prepare the upcoming and aspiring students of the university to work for the betterment of this project. Currently there are around forty members in the team and they call themselves team Mongol Tori 4.0, denoting the 4th generation of its existence.