UMD Wins Air Force Laboratory Challenge

May 03, 2017 09:56 PM

Engineering students at UMD have created a robotic pack mule that the military will now consider using. 

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The team of about 20 mechanical and electrical engineering students at UMD poured their knowledge into the robotic pack mule. Their design challenge was to create something to help the United States Air Force seize an airfield.

And the Air Force picked their pack mule as the winner of their Air Force Laboratory Challenge.

UMD beat out nine other schools, including the military academy at West Point, Johns Hopkins, and Brigham Young.

Josh Duellman, a senior on the team, said, "I was ecstatic when I heard we won. It's really cool, knowing that we were going against some big schools, and seeing we were able to pull off the win. It was pretty exciting for the team, and the university as a whole."

He said when they got to the competition in Tennessee last month, that their pack mule was the biggest one there, and they at first had concerns. But it made it through some rugged obstacle courses.

Their professor, Emmanuel Enemuoh, said he had a good feeling about this year's entry. They've entered before, but never gotten first place.

"But I knew going into this competition that we had a good chance. Because our students did a fantastic job with the design, the testing, and the analysis. I had a pretty good feeling it was going to result in a win," he said.

He chuckled that he got the news in an email, but called to confirm, to make sure the email was legitimate.

Air Force engineers were on campus to hand out the championship trophy on Wednesday.

Mike Lazalier said, "UMD's team had the best engineering and the best execution."

Now the team has earned UMD a free entry into next year's contest, a $20,000 value.


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