Updated 23 August 2020: The Drillbotics committee met again to discuss next year’s competition. Most student teams will attend classes remotely for the fall term in 2020, but a few are able to meet in person and would like to work on their physical rig. The committee is trying to accommodate both options if feasible. This update to the previous post announces the latest plan.
The primary challenge for the 2020-2021 competition will be to create a virtual full-scale rig, including drillstring and wellbore interaction, and to demonstrate the model using a very basic control model develop by each team. This is a repeat of the Group B challenge from the 2020 competition that was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a change in scale (the 2020 guidelines required the modelling of a lab-scale rig/operation). We plan to update the Guidelines with very few changes and release them before the end of August. The winning team will receive a travel grant to present their SPE paper at the 2022 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference in Galveston, TX in March 2022.
If three or more teams are able to build a physical rig this year the committee will furnish a bit and rock sample as before. This is a repeat of the Group A challenge from the 2020 competition that was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, at this time, we cannot determine if we can hold a contest in one or two locations next spring, due to possible travel restrictions at that time. We will have to evaluate later if judges can travel to each school like we did in earlier competitions. We may have to rely on a virtual competition broadcast from each school to the judges at remote sites. While we will do everything we reasonably can, the final choice will be made using guidelines from local health officials in effect next spring. The program committee of the Drilling Conference has only committed to hold one slot open for a paper from the winning team, so we cannot award a travel grant to a team building a physical rig this year. We will help any team that wants to submit an abstract, however.
Teams wanting to compete using a physical rig must advise the committee via email to 2021@Drillbotics.com by the end of August.