UND Student Engineers’ Project Among International Finalists

A dozen UND engineering students have been working since last fall on the Drillbotics project, and UND was selected for the second phase of the competition. Left to right: Trent Johnson, Jeff Elliott, Ryan Silva, Cody Williamson, advisor Meysam Haghshenas, Thomas Nieson, Sean Watts. Photo by Shawna Schill/UND Today.

It’s UND kelly green, seven feet tall and it can bore through limestone like butter.

A robotic drill designed by UND Engineering students is one of just nine finalists in the international Drillbotics competition.

A dozen UND engineering students have been working since last fall on the Drillbotics project, and UND was selected for the second phase of the competition. That’s unusual because almost no universities advance to the second phase during their first year in the contest, said Vamegh Rasouli, petroleum engineering chair and one of the team advisors.

Other universities in the competition include Texas A&M University (which won the competition last year), University of Oklahoma, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, University of Calgary, Missouri University of Science & Technology, Clausthal University of Technology in Germany, Norwegian University of Science & Technology, and University of Stavanger in Norway.

“No one has started from scratch like we have,” said Jeff Elliott, a mechanical engineering senior from Eagan, Minn. “Other schools have taken three years to get here. We started from ground zero.”

“To attain this measure of success in the first year of the UND Drillbotics program is an unprecedented achievement,” said Hesham El-Rewini, dean of the College of Engineering & Mines. “To be chosen as one of the nine teams worldwide to advance to the final competition phase is a testament to the quality of our students and the commitment of their advisors.  We are extremely proud of these young engineering students and wish them the very best.”

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