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Posted on Thursday, January 19, 2012


While it has been an unusual winter this year with such little snow accumulation, the best and the brightest are working hard to create solutions to manage the snow when it eventually shows up (and it will!).  Students from five mid-western universities are frantically putting the final finishes on the future of snow management – robotic snowplows. 

The student’s hard work will be put to the test at the Institute of Navigation’s Autonomous Snowplow Competition on January 28 and 29, 2012 in conjunction with the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.   On a snow course located on W. 4th Street in downtown Saint Paul, the students will use GPS and laser navigation guided snowplows to see which robotic snowplow is the most effective in removing snow. 

Modeled after the Institute of Navigation’s annual Robotic Lawnmower Competition, which spurred the development of mass market robotic lawnmowers, the Autonomous Snowplow Competition will be a trigger to drive technology development of robotic snowplows for home and business use.   “The Institute of Navigation is hard at work promoting collegiate undergraduate and graduate science, engineering and math development” says Suneel Sheikh, North Star Section Outreach Chair of the Institute of Navigation.  “These competitions are integral in the growth of new scientific ideas and concepts which eventually affect the day to day lives of the public.”

 The schools – University of Minnesota, Dunwoody College of Technology, University of Michigan – Dearborn, Ohio University, and Miami University of Ohio, will be competing for awards, prize money and recognition in the scientific navigation community.   

The Autonomous Snowplow Competition, held on January 28 – 29, 2012 on W. 4th Street in downtown St. Paul is free to the public.  The competition begins at 9 AM on Saturday and 10 AM on Sunday.  

Please come out and see this great event and also visit the ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) booth and learn how you can help to fund a graduate scholar in the fields of science, engineering and medical research at the University of Minnesota.

To learn more about the competition, visit and to learn more about ARCS, visit


Contact:  Kristen Sheikh