Caterpillar Sponsors NASA Robotic Mining Competition

On May 18-20, the seventh annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition was held at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Titusville, Fla. More than 45 university-level teams designed and built remote controlled mining robots to traverse a simulated Martian terrain.

The Caterpillar-sponsored competition is designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and provides an environment to foster innovative ideas and solutions that could potentially be used on NASA’s journey to Mars.

Caterpillar has a rich history of technical innovation and in order to sustain its long-term competitive advantage, the company needs to continually focus on building a sustainable talent pipeline. By supporting STEM initiatives such as the NASA Robotic Mining Competition, noted the company, its helping to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists. With over 10,000 engineers and technical experts developing solutions for Caterpillar customers, its key to identify critical skills and sources for talent.

Eric Reiners, a program manager for automation and enterprise solutions at Caterpillar, attended the competition and stated, “The teams involved in the competition are multi-disciplinary and passionate about applying their classroom education in a hands-on environment. These are exactly the type of individuals Caterpillar needs in order to continue to meet our customers’ needs in a rapidly changing world.”

This year, Caterpillar brought its Command for Dozing Operator Station (a long distance, semi-autonomous remote control system) giving students the opportunity to remotely operate a Cat D10T track-type tractor located at the Tucson Proving Grounds in Arizona.

Innovation Award

University of Utah



Social Media and Public Engagement Award

1st – Iowa State University
2nd – Oakton Community College
3rd – University of Alabama

SSERVI Regolith Mechanics Innovation Award

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


Slide Presentation and Demonstration Award

1st – University of Alabama
2nd – University of North Dakota
3rd – Colorado School of Mines

Caterpillar Autonomy Award

1st  – University of Alabama
2nd– South Dakota School of Mines



On-Site Mining Award

1st – Alabama Astrobotics, University of Alabama
2nd – Moon Pi, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
3rd – Oakton Robotics, Oakton Community College

Communication Award

University of Akron

Joe Kosmo Award for Excellence

University of Alabama

Systems Engineering Paper Award

1st – University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign
2nd – Oakton Community College
3rd – University of Illinois at Chicago

Outreach Project Award

1st – University of North Dakota
2nd – Iowa State University
3rd – Oakton Community College

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