Creating Solutions for Extreme Conditions

The Utah Robotic Mining Project is an exciting opportunity for students to develop skills in robotics, autonomous mining, and engineering project management while simultaneously engaging the community in fostering an understanding about the role of mining and robotics in our daily lives. The team was formed in 2014, taking third place in the 2015 NASA Robotic Mining Competition. The team is currently developing an intelligent, fully autonomous robot for the 2016 Competition. The team is an officially recognized campus organization open to students of all majors

For more information contact the project manager, John Robe at

Status Report: May 11, 2016

After a long period of time, here’s the first “status report” for the 2015-2016 year. The competition is only 5 days away, and the team is leaving for Florida in two days!

This year has been incredibly successful for our team. We have attended and organized over 15 outreach events promoting STEM, positively impacting over 1000 K-12 students. Our team has also been successful in raising over $20,000 from several sources, which is an incredible success. Thank you very much to our sponsors, we could not have done any of this without you!

Our robot design was completed over the first  semester and we have completed a complete and comprehensive 3D Model of our robot showing all of the materials, hardware, and parts necessary to complete it. This was essential when moving to the second semester and beginning building, and also essential for beginning work on making the robot fully autonomous. See below for the SolidWorks renderings:

Currently, our mechanical and software designs have been finalized and we’ve been doing a great deal of testing, not only the mechanical aspects of the robot, but also the autonomous aspects. The programming this year has been done using the automation framework called ROS. ROS is an incredibly powerful framework incorporating industry grade pathfinding, mapping, and automation algorithms; and is completely customizable to work with whatever robot you can imagine.

Using this powerful framework we currently have our robot navigating through complex environments and avoiding obstacles without any user input. We are using this technology to do multiple autonomous digging rounds during the competition.

As the competition is so close, please check back for more details to come over the next week!

Competition Report: Day 5 – Final Day and Award Ceremony

Third Place! The Utah Robotic Mining Project achieved third place in at the NASA Robotic Mining competition!

First thing in the morning we had our second and final competition round, and we mined 49.9 KG of dusty regolith, and 1.9kg of BP2, the larger regolith. The full round can be watched below!

This round put us in first place for a short period of time! The University of Alabama had a fully autonomous round  on day 4, and because of that they nearly secured first place with their first round. After our 51.8kg round, Alabama had another great partially-autonomous round and finished the competition in first place. Purdue university also had an autonomous robot that mined less overall regolith than our team, but because of the autonomy they took second place overall in the competition. We took third place!


After the last competition rounds were over the awards ceremony took place. Although we have not received the official photos from NASA with our plaque for winning third place in the photo, all of the other notable photos from that night are below. It was an amazing experience that took place under the Saturn V rocket.