“The innovators tackled two challenges, “Hydro Challenge” and “Solar Challenge”. Almost 100 entries were submitted in total.”
For the category “Hydro Challenge: Localizing Robots in Deep, Underground, Expansive Tunnel Networks”, two (joint) winners were awarded. One of them is Omar Monroy (Mexico); his innovative solution is the use of a system of vector localization that can map and determine the exact position of the robot/drone during tunnel inspections. The “heart” of this idea is a robust algorithm that integrates data obtained with various sensors and uses statistical filters to drastically decrease the margin of error.
The other winner is The Vreeland Institute represented by Thomas S. Vreeland (United States): his solution combines an Inertial Navigation System (INS) and a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor to provide accurate data on the location of drones inside the tunnels.
“From all the proposals that came through the Innocentive online platform, designed to be a meeting place for seekers and solvers from around the world, EGP chose two joint winners, who received 7,500 dollars each, for both categories.”
In the category “Solar Challenge: Maximizing Sunlight Reflection of the Ground Surface in Solar Plants” there were also two winners. Luciano Salvietti Cignetti and Carlos Lemus (Guatemala) developed one winning solution using a nano-coating that reproduces the so-called “lotus effect”. The system features an irrigation device for the distribution of the omniphobic protective liquid on the ground of the solar field.
The creator of the second winning solution is Pietro Tumino (Italy, an EGP colleague), who made a special triangular stub from white polystyrene. This solution uses an inclined surface between the rows of solar panels, greatly increasing both the albedo and the direct light component hitting the back and front of the photovoltaic modules.