We are excited to announce that the 9th Annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition, hosted by The Institute of Navigation (ION), will take place at Sidewalk Labs workspace in Toronto.

The objective of the competition is for teams to design an unmanned snowplow vehicle that will autonomously remove snow from predefined paths. The competition invites and challenges teams in the area of high-performance autonomous vehicle guidance, navigation, and control. The competition is also designed to encourage student interest in the areas of STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  This year there are eight teams comprised of students from colleges and universities excited to display their hard work to the people of Toronto.

The autonomous snowplows are required to remove snow from two snowfields within a set amount of time. The first snowfield has a single ‘I’-shaped path meant to represent a sidewalk. The second snowfield has two parallel (side-by-side), or double, ‘I’-shaped path meant to represent a driveway. There can be no direct human control of the vehicle during the plowing operation.  Stationary objects are placed in the snowfield to increase the complexity of navigation and simulate the avoidance of humans or objects that a plow in a working setting must avoid. In addition, there will be demonstration of cooperative navigation where two teams will pair up and their autonomous vehicles will work together to remove snow on an “S” shaped snow field simultaneously.

The public is encouraged to come to Sidewalk Labs on Thursday night January 24th to see the vehicles and interact with the student engineers and developers during the poster presentation.  Saturday January 26th is competition day, when the students will demonstrate the capabilities of their autonomous vehicle and all the hard work they have put into development over the past six months.  Join us to cheer on your favourite robotic plow!

The competition week will be composed of the following exciting events:

  • Thursday 24 January 2019 (7pm EST) —Teams will present their final snowplow vehicle designs to the general public and answer questions. Vehicles will be on display for public viewing.
  • Saturday 26 January 2019 (8am – 6pm EST) — Competition Day! Teams will compete on the single straight ‘I’-shaped snowfield in the morning, and the double straight ‘I’-shaped snowfield in the afternoon.  Around noon there will be a cooperative navigation demonstration. Public is encouraged to come and cheer on the plows!

Additional information can be found at the competition website.