As mentioned in a previous post, the St. Paul Winter Carnival starts tomorrow, with dozens of fun activities to choose from.

This weekend, the fun just doesn’t slow down. There’s lots of activities, events and competitions to see and take part in. One that we thought sounded a bit interesting is the Institute of Navigation’s (ION) Autonomous Snowplow Competition.

The purpose of the competition is to challenge university and college students as well as the general public to design, build and operate a fully autonomous snowplow, which will then remove snow from a designated path.

The objectives are to encourage participants to use math and science and value and apply those skills to practical engineering solutions. Also, to use a challenging real world experience to advance the state of the art in vehicle navigation and control. A third objective is to promote ION and its membership by demonstrating the uses of navigation-based technologies in real-world applications. Finally, the competition is meant to provide outreach to the general public community of the ION organization and its contributions to our society.

The student competitions are held tomorrow, Thursday the 27th at the Science Museum of Minnesota, but the full dynamic competition will be held Friday through Sunday at the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Check the competition schedule for full details.

For more information on the competition, visit