The University of Southampton

Robots strut their stuff in grand final of local competition

Published: 8 April 2008

Teams of young engineers from local schools and colleges will be taking part in the final this Saturday (12 April) of the Student Robotics Competition, organized by ECS students.

The sixth-form students have been working with University students since last October, to produce fully autonomous robots that are able to undertake a series of complex challenges in Saturday’s final. Since there is no remote control allowed, the robots have to drive and direct themselves, find objects and bring them back to base to receive points.

Each team is made up of six students and many of them have volunteered to give up part of the Easter break to get their robots in top shape for Saturday’s competition. The local colleges involved are: St Anne’s School, Southampton; Fareham College; Totton College; Southampton City College; Peter Symonds College, Winchester; and Brockenhurst College.

The event was initiated by a group of Electronics students in the School of Electronics and Computer Science who had themselves been involved in robotics competitions before coming to University. They felt this was a really interesting way to get pre-University students interested in engineering and so undertook to provide mentoring and support in the schools and colleges over a six-month period.

‘All the teams have embraced this fantastic opportunity to take on a great challenge,’ said Stephen English, a final-year Electronics student at the University. ‘Working as a team over six months they have developed a breadth of skills beyond the A level syllabus and we are tremendously proud of their achievements. We are looking forward to a really exciting event on Saturday when they get the chance to show what their robots can do!’

The competition final takes place in the University Students’ Union Building (in a specially constructed arena) on Saturday 12 April, from 10.30 am. The competition takes place throughout the day, with prizegiving scheduled for 4.30 pm.

The Student Robotics Competition has been sponsored by Motorola, the University of Southampton, and the School of Electronics and Computer Science.

It is hoped that this will now become an annual event for local schools and colleges.

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