Formerly McGill LunarEx Robotics, the McGill Robotics team has evolved into an umbrella organization that encompasses multiple design teams after a massive rebranding and recruitment effort in the Fall of 2013.
Academic year 2007-2008: In 2007, McGill LunarEx (the precursor of McGill Robotics) was founded. The team formed with the intention of competing in the 2008 NASA Centennial Regolith Collection Challenge, established that same year. However, an unfortunate shipping complication sidelined the team from participating in the inaugural competition.
Academic year 2008-2009: In 2009, LunarEx planned to compete in the NASA Centennial Regolith Collection Challenge. The team built another lunar excavator, and with another year of experience, departed for California. Despite last-minute software difficulties, LunarEx’s excavator was still a contender. However, NASA found what it was looking for in the winning teams robot and closed the Regolith Collection Challenge.
Academic year 2009-2010: NASA set up a new competition in 2010, the Lunabotics Mining Competition. Unfortunately, the competition was restricted only to American universities. Undeterred, the team spent the year designing, modifying, and testing auger mechanisms for collecting regolith, publishing a paper on the results and continuing to develop the design team.
Academic year 2010-2011: In 2011, international teams were finally able to participate in the Lunabotics Mining Competition. Implementing the auger system that had been developed the previous year, LunarEx was ready to compete until an unlucky trial run caused the robot to shut down just before the competition.
Academic year 2011-2012: For the 2012 Lunabotics Mining Competition, an attempt was made to improve on the previous design using a two-stage auger. It proved to be ineffective, but this was realized too close to the competition to redesign it.
Academic year 2012-2013: With fifty (mostly) new members and an entirely new robot, LunarEx Robotics found its greatest success during the 2013 Lunabotics Mining Competition, finishing 12th out of 50 teams.
Summer 2013: After NASA limited competition eligibility to only American teams, LunarEx Robotics decided to take the opportunity to rebrand and expand its area of expertise–leading to the creation of McGill Robotics. After much research and deliberation, the team of MR chose to prepare for the AUVSI and ONR’s International RoboSub Competition.
Fall 2013: McGill Robotics begins designing an autonomous robotic submarine to compete in the AUVSI and ONR’s International RoboSub Competition. The departure from the previously tackled lunar surface to ocean depths was daunting, but nevertheless an exciting new challenge. Meanwhile, the MR organization expands to encompass RoboVentures, a design team dedicated to giving experience in robotics to younger undergraduate students.
Winter 2013: McGill Robotics welcomed the CanSat design team to the organization.
Spring 2014: After months of careful design and manufacturing, McGill Robotics unveiled Asimov, its first ever AUV.