by Chris McKillop
WARG Team Member
Many people have walked by the door to Waterloo Aerial Robotics Group lab on the second floor of E2 and wondered, “What the heck is that?”. A good number of people assume that it is a grad student lab. It’s not. The Waterloo Aerial Robotics Group (WARG) is an undergraduate student research project aimed at developing control, vision, and artificial intelligence systems for autonomous robots. Currently the group is very focused in on getting an RC helicopter to fly unmanned in any environment and also to be able to identify people and other objects it flies over. The group is aiming to compete in the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems’ Millennial Competition in the year 2000. For more information on that event see http://avdil.gtri.gatech.edu/AUVS/IARCLaunchPoint.html.
WARG was started just over a year ago within the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. A 1A Comp, David Kroetsch, had done a similar project while he was in high school and now that he was at Waterloo was interested in moving the project to a higher level. Prof. David Wang (not a P.Eng) helped Kroetsch by bringing together different students that had expressed interest to him in participating in such a robotics competition. As time passed WARG was augmented with students from Systems Design and from Computer Science.
This past summer at a preliminary competition, WARG took second place beating schools such as MIT, Georgia Tech, and Berkeley. The group was also given an award for Overall Innovation. In order to continue this success and to win the Millennial event, WARG needed to raise more money to fund further research.
To this end, current sponsors and approximately 20 other local high tech companies were invited to come to campus to attend a presentation on the project and to meet the group members; dubbed WARG Day. This event happened on Friday, October 16th and was very successful. Nearly 10 companies sent representatives ranging from engineers to presidents. At the end of the day there were several new companies interested in sponsoring the group’s research and several previous sponsors expressing an interest in increasing their sponsorship.
The group would like to thank the following people/groups; the E&CE department for the refreshments, ICR for the use of their facilities in the Davis Center, and in AV for the promotional video. Without their help WARG Day would not have been possible. For more information on the group and also to see who makes this project possible (read: sponsors) please feel free to explore http://ece.uwaterloo.ca/~warg/. Also, watch for an announce in the near future from WARG looking to interested students to help make WARG the first place finisher in 2000.
Filed under: WARG News