ZED Powers Autonomous Ski Robots at the Winter Olympics

As the world’s best human skiers competed in the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, autonomous ski robots shredded slopes in their own ski competition just an hour away. Of the eight competitors, five of the ski robots relied on the ZED to navigate autonomously as they zig-zagged their way to the finish line.

The competition, called “Edge of Robot: Ski Robot Challenge,” saw seven University teams and a private company launch human-like robots down a slalom slope, where they would have to weave through flags while reaching the bottom in the shortest time possible. To qualify, each robot had to be self-powered, be at least 50cm tall, and navigate with human-like arms and legs.

Despite record-low temperatures, most ski robots were equipped with ZED eyes. Among them the short and speedy SKIRO, built by the Korea Institute of Robots and Convergence, won the silver medal. Kookmin University’s taller RoK-2 won Bronze. Also using ZED were TiBo, by the Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement, Rudolph, by Seoul National University of Science and Technology, and the crowdfunded DIANA from the HERoEHS team at Hanyang University.

SKIRO ski robot
The second place champion, SKIRO, by the Korea Institute of Robots and Convergence.

The ZED is widely used in autonomous robotics, from 3D-scanning drones to factory robots. Experts choose it for its extended depth range, its high resolution and frame rate and its ability to work outdoors. Compared to LiDAR, the other popular option for outdoor depth sensing, the ZED provides full depth maps of its environment along with localization information, allowing an autonomous robot to detect obstacles at high speeds and follow a safe path through its environment.

RoK-2 ski robot
Third place champion RoK-2 by Kookmin University
TiBo ski robot
TiBo, by KAIST
Rudolph ski robot
Rudolph, by Seoul National University of Science and Technology
DIANA robot
DIANA, by HEROEHS of Hanyang University

To learn more about the Edge of Robot: Ski Robot Challenge, you can read this article by The Verge.

Congratulations to all the teams that took part in this exciting challenge!

– ZED Team