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Aalto University students win innovation competition with autonomous hoist

Students turned a regular indoor hoist into a robot with artificial intelligence. The autonomous hoist plans its own movements to find the best path for moving large objects from one area to another. A sensor system allows the hoist to detect and avoid obstacles that are common to storage areas, such as people, vehicles, large machines, walls and storage shelves.
Innovaatiokilpailun voittanut joukkue.
The winning team, from left to right: Joonas Pulkkinen, Janne Salovaara, Kaarle Patomäki, Sampo Simolin, Mikko Lähteenmäki and Joakim Högnäsbacka. Kuva: Eeva Anundi.

Aalto University students rode an autonomous hoist to a clear victory in this year's innovation competition for students of technology. The hoist uses a LiDAR laser scanner to detect its surroundings, build a map of the environment, use the map to chart the best possible path and then move the desired object to its destination without collisions. In practice, the students turned a regular indoor hoist into a robot.

'It was great that we were able to give the software enough intelligence for the hoist to be able to avoid all obstructions,' says team member Janne Salovaara. Salovaara is a fifth-year student in the Aalto University School of Engineering. 'On the whole we started with a somewhat complex idea, which we were then able to make work well. And in quite a short time, as well.'

Ari Rämö, managing director of sensor technology company SICK Finland, agrees that the winning team's device is outstanding. The innovation made good use of the product given to the contestants and to top it off, it made the device move around. The processing of the data produced by the software was also well-executed.

Second place went to a team of students from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences for their application, which monitors movements at the mouth of a tunnel to improve safety. The third-place prize was awarded to a team of students from Oulu, who developed a landing aid for helicopters. Teams from Tampere University of Applied Sciences and Vaasa University of Applied Sciences were recognised with honourable mentions.

Further information on the competition and the innovation:

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