Notable Nevadans

CONGRATULATING THE UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS ROBOTICS TEAM

HON. DEAN HELLER

OF NEVADA

IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE

June 11, 2015

 Mr. HELLER. Mr. President, today, I wish to congratulate the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) robotics team on being selected as one of the top ten in the world by competing in the 2015 U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge. The competition included a dozen teams from the United States, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Lockheed Martin. Eleven teams from Japan, Germany, Italy, South Korea, and Hong Kong also participated.  

The competition was initially created in response to the humanitarian need after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor incident in 2011. The goal of the program remains to accelerate the development of advanced robots capable of entering areas too dangerous for humans and acting as first responders in the disaster zone. The robots chosen as finalists, including UNLV’s Metal Rebel, competed in eight tasks related to disaster response, including climbing stairs, turning valves, tripping circuit breakers, walking among rubble, and driving alone. Metal Rebel took 8th place out of 23 teams, bringing in a score of six out of eight and a time of 57:41. This team of students and faculty stands as a tribute to what dedication and hard work can achieve. I am proud to call them fellow Nevadans.

The team of 15 UNLV engineering students was led by Paul Oh, Lincy Professor of Unmanned Aerial Systems and expert in robotics and autonomous systems for UNLV’s Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering. Mr. Oh joined the competition to help UNLV and Nevada become a national leader in the autonomous systems industry. He was also the former program director for the National Science Foundation robotics. His work for this university and our state is greatly appreciated.

I am excited to see local students and faculty bringing recognition to both Nevada and to UNLV for their advancement in a global competition. These students should be proud to call themselves top contenders in this international competition. I ask my colleagues to join me and all Nevadans in congratulating UNLV for its success and honorable representation of Nevada.

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