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The Mechatronics lab as it is known today was founded at Virginia Tech in 2005. Our young lab competed along with 23 other finalists at the DARPA Grand Challenge that year, establishing the lab's autonomous vehicle heritage that continues on today. After the Grand Challenge came the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. This competition began between 53 teams, and was narrowed down through qualifications to just 11 finalists. Dr. Al Wicks and the students in this lab comprised the Virginia Tech competition team. Victor Tango, as we were called, placed 3rd in this competition beating engineering powerhouses MIT, UPenn, and Cornell. This was perhaps the most publicized success story of all of our student projects over the years.
 

   

Odin was the Virginia Tech Entry for the DARPA Urban Challenge Odin was the Mechatronics Lab entry for the DARPA Urban Challenge in 2007. Odin finished 3rd in the competition.

 

From the Urban Challenge sprouted TORC, a small business that focuses on robotic building blocks for unmanned autonomous vehicles. TORC has partnered with our lab on several military and medical projects over the years. Our partnership is a staple for small business and university collaboration. Our expertise ranges from applied autonomy research with the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Lab (MCWL), to medical research as part of the Pediatric Medical Device Consortium. Every year our lab grows in size with PhD and Masters candidates carrying out multiple research projects in their time with our lab. Our goal is to create practical engineering solutions to the problems of today.

   

Image of GUSS GUSS is one of the projects that the Mechatronics Lab is currently working on for the Marine Corp.

 

In addition to research, we also aim to share the knowledge base of the graduate students in our lab with senior undergraduate students who are interested in robotics and Mechatronics. We provide students the tools to develop electromechanical devices, and then allow them to make a difference in the world by creating practical solutions.


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