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RoMeLa | MAGIC 2010
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MAGIC 2010

The Mission

From the official MAGIC2010 website: 

The Multi Autonomous Ground-robotic International Challenge (MAGIC 2010) is jointly sponsored by the Australian and US Departments of Defence to attract innovative proposals from worldwide research organisations to develop next-generation fully autonomous ground vehicle systems that can be deployed effectively in military operations and civilian emergency situations.

What’s the challenge?

The challenge requires competitors to submit proposals demonstrating the use of multi-vehicle robotic teams that can execute an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission in a dynamic urban environment.

Shortlisted competitors will need to field cooperatives of unmanned vehicle prototypes with the ability to autonomously and dynamically coordinate, plan and carry out tasks against changing priorities.

To complete the challenge competitors must: (i) accurately and completely explore and map the challenge area; (ii) correctly locate, classify and recognise all simulated threats; and (iii) complete all phases within 3.5 hours. The challenge event will be conducted in Australia during November 2010.


Five teams from around the world will be chosen to compete in Australia this November, with Virginia Tech’s Team VaCAS one of the 12 teams currently shortlisted. After completing the competition, the top three teams will receive cash prizes as follows:

  • 1st place – $750,000

  • 2nd place – $250,000

  • 3rd place – $100,000

The Team

Advising VT’s Team VaCAS (Virginia Center for Autonomous Systems) are Dr. Furukawa, Dr. Hong, Dr. Kurdila, and Dr. Leonessa. The team currently consists of about 20 professors, graduate students, and undergraduate students, and is constantly growing!


Team VaCAS is split into several subgroups:

  • UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) Group

  • High Level Control Group

  • Low Level Control Group

  • System Integration Group

  • Perception Group

The Plan

  • Team VaCAS submitted its original proposal in October 2009 and was subsequently shortlisted to a pool of 12 teams, and one of ten teams that received a grant of $50,000 for the competition.

  • The next main objective for the team to is to prepare for June 2010 site visits by the Competition Committee. Team VaCAS will present its progress and plan to the Committee as well as provide demonstration of its current squadron of vehicles in a miniature environment representative of the 500m by 500m competition terrain. This demo will take place at Virginia Tech’s Danville campus, and the team hopes to be shortlisted to the final five teams to participate in the actual competition in November 2010.

  • If Team VaCAS is chosen as one of the top five teams per the June 2010 site visits, the team will receive an additional $50,000 grant for the competition and will attend the competition and conference held in November 2010 in an undisclosed location in Southern Australia.

In the News

Engineers answer challenge for ‘interactive’ battle robots