The European Rover Challenge 2023 is an international space and robotics event combining an international rover competition with a three-day space conference.
Guided by the slogan “we inspire a new generation”, we have been bringing the cosmos closer to the general public and making people aware of the growing role of modern technologies in our lives since 2014. ERC is also a meeting place for representatives of the European world of science and business interested in the use of space and robotic technologies.
Among the special guests of previous European Rover Challenge editions, you could meet, among others Steve Jurczyk – former Associate Administrator of NASA, Robert Cabana – NASA Associate Administrator, Robert Zubrin – founder of The Mars Society, Harrison Schmitt – NASA astronaut and member of the legendary Apollo 17 mission, or Tim Peake – an astronaut of the European Space Agency, who ran the London Marathon during his stay on the International Space Station.
International robotics competition
The main part of the European Rover Challenge 2023 is an international robotics competition, where academic teams from around the world present their mobile robot designs, competing in competitions based on real ESA and NASA missions. The competition takes place on the world’s largest artificial Martian track, that is directly derived from the surface of the Red Planet. Since 2021, the competition is held in both formulas: ON-SITE (teams compete with self-constructed robots on Mars Yard in Poland) and REMOTE (competitors from several continents will remotely control the robot, physically moving along a track located in Poland, on the campus of the Kielce University of Technology).
The European Rover Challenge is an integrated programme working towards technological developments, specifically those in GPS-denied environments, with space exploration and utilisation as the leading theme. The ultimate goal of the ERC is to become a standardised test trial and benchmark for planetary robotic activities, coupled with strong professional career development platform.
In the ON-SITE formula, student teams from all over the world work hard to prepare a fully functional Mars rover of their design. The rover has to be a standalone, mobile platform. All teams that go through the qualifications, get to compete on an artificial Martian track in Poland in numerous challenging tasks.
The teams taking part in the REMOTE formula will all use the same equipment (Leo Rover & UR robotic arm) during the competition, with which they will connect remotely via the Internet from anywhere on Earth. The winner of the competition will be the one who most reliably prepares the software necessary for the mission and demonstrates effectiveness in team management, reacting to critical situations and change management.
ERC2023 Inspiration Zone – The space conference
The Inspiration Zone is a place where everyone, regardless of age and space passion will find something for themselves. The ERC audience will not only experience amazing projects prepared by the robotics competition participants, but also see speakers and inventions from around the world, as well as an endless number of demonstrations, attractions and scientific experiments. On the main stage of the event, the attendees will see foremost inspiring presentations that will take them to the farthest corners of the universe but also various debates, in which experts from the industry related to the exploration of extraterrestrial space will share their work with the audience.
Guided by the motto “we inspire a new generation” we bring space and the growing role of modern technologies in our lives closer to the general public. We want our viewers to leave the ERC not only equipped with knowledge, but also inspired to action.
The Inspiration Zone brings together not only the best rover constructors worldwide. Every year, world-class specialists, industry leaders and scientists gather here. Among them are astronauts, experts of the largest technology companies, leaders of space agencies and researchers from universities around the world. The ERC creates a platform of knowledge exchange for university students, space enthusiasts and potential employees of the space sector.
Therefore, the event’s programme includes interdisciplinary debates on the future of human settlement on the Red Planet, the survival of the first astronauts in the lunar bases announced by NASA or ESA, as well as important topics related to the commercialization and use of space technologies on Earth.
In previous years, the European Rover Challenge has hosted speakers such as Robert Cabana – NASA Associate Administrator, Steve Jurczyk – former NASA Associate Administrator, Robert Zubrin – founder of The Mars Society, Harrison Schmitt – geologist, NASA astronaut and member of the last mission to the Moon in 1972 – Apollo 17, and Tim Peake – European Space Agency astronaut.