Razor to sponsor University of Sheffield students in Mars Rover tournament bid 

Dec Connolly Editor

Email business@thebusinessjournal.co.uk

Sheffield-based tech company Razor are teaming up with the University of Sheffield to sponsor their student-led MarsWorks team with the hopes of bagging the top prize in an international Rover-building competition.

Razor are excited to be one of several local businesses who are offering their help in being part of the push to get university-based project MarsWorks ready to compete and win in both the Anatolian Rover Challenge and the European Rover Challenge.

The MarsWorks project was formed to give students the opportunity to take part in building a full-sized Rover, a lander-style spacecraft designed to explore the solid surface of planets and other planetary-mass celestial bodies such as Mars and the Moon. In working together to build a Rover, students are able to develop the skills necessary to aim for careers in the tech, robotics and space industry, as well as gaining valuable hands-on experience working with industry-grade technology as they work towards their degree.

The MarsWorks team had previously competed in the Anatolian Rover Challenge, where they reached the final stage of the competition. The team’s Rover also received the highest score for their design proposals. The competition, which took place in Turkey, was spread over four days, during which the MarsWorks team participated in three ‘missions’ – a search-and-rescue, autonomous driving, and sample collection. These missions were set on a simulated version of Mars, including noted geographical features such as craters and dunes.

Although the Rovers built for both competitions won’t end up going to space, the chance to be able to work with hardware and software that mirrors actual Rovers is a productive venture for students who are determined to make space exploration, robotics and engineering their life’s work.

Razor’s support of MarsWorks will give University of Sheffield students and the Razor team the ability to be involved in cutting-edge technological development, cementing Sheffield as a hub of innovation in the UK. MarsWorks’ partnership with Razor also gives students a chance to experience areas of tech for their future careers that they might not have considered beforehand, with MarsWorks’ team leader Reuben Mitchell stating: “It gives [students] the thought process of, ‘Maybe I could get into this!’” 

With help from Razor, the MarsWorks team will be able to improve their Rover’s components, particularly with the inclusion of several new on-board computers, and give them the edge they need to come first place in the Anatolian and European Rover Challenges next year.

Jamie Hinton, CEO and founder of Razor said: “We’re thrilled to be entering into a partnership with MarsWorks and the University of Sheffield. Not only will we be able to aid the team by helping them upgrade the components for their Rover and aim big for the competitions, we’ll be able to offer University of Sheffield students the chance to consider areas of the tech industry that might not have been apparent to them beforehand.

“Working through a degree usually involves focusing on a narrow field of study, but Razor is excited to be able to present an opportunity to local students, where they can widen their understanding of the incredible, innovative jobs tech has to offer and realise their ambition can be limitless. We want to cement Sheffield as the beating heart of tech in the UK – what better way to achieve this than by supporting the next generation of engineers to do just that?”