Gondwana is a small planet orbiting a star on the outer fringes of our Galaxy. Intergalactic rebels have sabotaged hydrocarbon fuel extraction wells and for several months the wellheads have been burning out of control. Toxic gases and extreme heat near the wells have prevented the Gondwanans from entering the fields of wells to extinguish the infernos. Thick smoke is polluting their atmosphere which is causing global cooling, their heating fuel reserves are becoming dangerously low. They have pleaded for help from all galaxy resources. Chemical engineers have developed an explosive charge that will extinguish the flames providing spherical vessels of the fluid are accurately dropped into the tubular wellheads. Each field contains multiple wellheads, each head produces different levels of hydrocarbon output. Engineering students from Earth have risen to the challenge of developing a system to deliver the correct number of vessels to each wellhead. They will build and demonstrate a proof of concept autonomous system that will precisely deliver the vessels. Wellheads giving higher output require more vessels.Over the last 32 years, engineering students have rendered invaluable assistance with such engineering problems, and on this thirty-third occasion,the Gondwanans again seek help from these budding engineers to demonstrate a solution.
Toxic smoke and heat are stopping the access of firefighters to hydrocarbon extraction wells that are flaring out of control. Galactic engineers have proposed that an autonomous system to drop vessels of an explosive mixture into the wellhead would extinguish the flames by temporarily removing oxygen.Due to the thick smoke and ash, airborne navigation is not possible and flying systems would be damaged.In many cases the sabotage has left debris across access lanes, creating obstacles to robotic systems. Aground-based autonomous system is required to drop the vessels into the wellheads and return to base before the time-triggered chemical mixture explodes or the heat damages the system.
Prototype a proof of concept system that precisely delivers ten vessels (the payload) into four vertical tubes of different heights that simulate the wellheads, Figure 1. Higher tubes are representative of higher output heads, requiring more vessels to be deposited. The autonomous system will start from a safe area, such as an access road,defined by the Start/End zone, Figure 1. The system will be loaded with up to ten vessels by the team and when activated will deliver the appropriate number of vessels into each tube and return to the Start/End zone. The real application temperature in the delivery location is extreme so the time the system spends operating in the active fire zone must be brief. The timed ignition will occur 120 seconds after system activation so the system must have returned within that time or it will be destroyed. The system will be transported to the fields generally by helicopter or truck so there are size and weight restrictions.
The objective is to design, build and demonstrate a proof of concept scaled prototype transfer system in a laboratory environment. Points will be earned when your autonomous system starts entirely within the Start/End zone and delivers the payload vessels into each of four vertical tubes, Figure 1. The required number of vessels to be deposited in each tube is shown in Figure 1. Further points will be scored when the entire system returns to being fully within the safe Start/End zone in less than 120 seconds, faster systems will be preferred. Preferably all ten vessels will be correctly deposited but fewer will earn points. At the International Final, the ambient temperature during the prototype demonstration SHALL NOT be elevated to simulate the wellhead condition sand there SHALL NOT be smoke.