MANAS BLOG

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ProjectManasArtificialIntelligenceRoboticsAutonomusBotIGVCSelfDrivingCar

Are you ready for MANAS?

Dheeraj R. Reddy15 Aug 2018

Welcome to Project MANAS!

We are the official undergraduate AI Robotics club of MIT. We’re currently working towards building India’s first driverless car, and we also take part in the annual IGVC competition, held in June every year.

We started four years ago with the aim of inspiring advanced research in AI and the establishment of a state-of-the-art AI robotics research centre.

Undertaking such a large endeavour requires inter-disciplinary knowledge, therefore our team consists of multiple divisions:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Sensing and Automation
  • Mechanical
  • Management

Artificial Intelligence

The division tasked with building the mind of the entire system. We are tightly intertwined with Sensing and Automation division. On obtaining real world data, we are responsible for two fundamental tasks: to perceive our environment and hence make decisions accordingly.

Sensing and Automation

The Sensing Unit deals with the acquisition of data from a plethora of sensors. We also pre-process raw data for odometry and tranform them into compact packets for smooth data transfer. The Automation Unit deals with receiving processed commands (decision) from the AI and forwarding it to various actuators in the bot for navigational control, while using Control Theory for error minimization.

Mechanical

A robot at the end of the day is a mechanical entity. The mechanical division ensures that even after making so many changes to the car in order to make it autonomous, it still has all its mechanical aspects in place.

Management

The Management Division ensures that all the Divisions & Sub-divisions work in synchronization. It facilitates intercommunication between the various Divisions. The PR and Design team makes sure Project MANAS is active on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The Admin and Sponsorship team acts as the connecting link between the sponsorers and Project MANAS. It is responsible for procuring funds, and also handles the logistics.

Recruitment

Every year, we take in new recuits from the first and second years to keep our team strength up. This year, we’re using our tried and tested methodology.

Challenge

The challenge is a chance for students in Manipal to skip the interview round and get a direct entry into the Project MANAS AI Task phase. The challenge is open to all first and second year students. We will not only be looking at whether you get a perfect solution but your approach as well. Creative and innovative approaches will be awarded brownie points because at MANAS we value out-of-the-box thinking. There will be two separate leaderboards for first and second years. It is necessary for second year students to solve all of the questions to be considered successful. The hard challenges are optional for first year students, solving them will give you extra points, and street cred. We’ll finally pick the top performers from first and second years.

The duration of the challenge is from 15th August to 6th September, and the selected candidates will be announced during the GBM.

Interviews

The recruitment into Project MANAS is a two-step process. First round is an interview round in which we will test your logical and technical skills. You should have good analytical and creative skills. For AI, you should know basic data structures and algorithms. Machine learning is a plus. For SnA, you will be tested on eletrical and electronics concepts. Arduino is a plus. For Mech, you will need to brush up on basic mechanics, math and physics. Engineering Graphics is a plus. For Management, we’ll be looking at your people skills and how well you can adminstrate a team like Project MANAS. Usually the questions asked are bearing in mind your age and inexperience so you need not stress about them. If you have previously worked on a project related to any of the above sub-divisions, you can bring it to the interview. Should you clear the interview round, you will be given a chance to enter the Task Phase.

Task Phase

The task phase is an extensive training program that helps us to identify the people who are right for the job. It will last for about two months. It’s like a preview of being a part of the team. You will be working with a team on a single project, either within divisions or for the more ambitious folks, you can team up with people from other divisions as well. At the end of the Task Phase, you will go through more rigorous interviews testing not only your technical competence, but also how well you can work in a team. If we think you’re a valuable addition to our team, you’ll officially be part of Project MANAS.

Whether or not you make it into the team, it will be a good learning experience and you would gain a fair amount of knowledge on robotics.

Frequently Asked questions

Q. Where will the recruitments be held?
A. The interviews will be held in the Project MANAS workshop, outside Kamath Circle.

Q. What is the GBM? What will be covered?
A. GBM is our General Body Meeting where we will be providing detailed information about the working of each subsystem to give you a complete insight into the working of Project MANAS.

Q. Can I attend interview without attending GBM?
A. Yes. The GBM is only to give you full details about the club. But we would like to see you at the GBM too.

Q. Can I be a part of multiple divisions?
A. No, but you can contribute to them. In fact, it’s crucial that members help others so as to finish tasks on time.

Q. What are the working hours?
A. Until you get the perm, team members are expected to work 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM in the case of first years and 6:00 PM to 10:30 PM. After getting perm extension, first years will have to work till 10:30 PM and second years till 1:00 AM.

Q. Will I have to stay back in the vacation?
A. Once you get into the team, you will have to stay back for about 2 months in the summer and 20 days in the winter. People who wish to stay back during this winter vacation are free to do so, its not mandatory.