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CATS Cambridge took on Student Robotics 2017 Competition and won!

Student stories 26 April 2017

On April 1st, 2017 five brave students and two teachers competed in the national Student Robotics 2017 competition hosted by Southampton University. 

This was the 10th year that Student Robotics challenged teams of 16 to 18 year-olds to design, build and develop autonomous robots to compete in an annual competition.  The competition details are provided in September and teams from all over the UK and as far as Germany have to design, build, and program a competition ready robot within six short months.

Robotics is a wonderful engineering challenge as it combines many disciplines, including problem solving, design, construction, electronics, sensors, logic, and programming.  Many students start with very little or no experience in any of these fields and are encouraged to try for themselves and learn new skills while delivering a working robot. There are many challenges to overcome, including deciding how to solve the problems presented in the competition and what strategies will score the most points - do we collect all the points, or do we steal points from other teams?  Once you have decided what to do, you quickly run into the real-world challenges of how do we actually build the robot, what parts are available, what tools can we use and how much will it all cost.  All of these factors need to be combined in a practical way to deliver a competition ready robot. And competition ready we were! We finished the construction of the robot with only one week left before the competition and then had to start putting together all the bits of programming we had done and write a whole lot of new code.  But in the end it was all worth it!

The competition itself was a real challenge - with 50 schools competing the pace is non-stop.  The 120 league matches start on Saturday morning and run through all the way to Sunday afternoon.  4 robots compete at a time on each of two arenas, this results in a competitive match every 30 - 45 minutes, with every minute in between matches used to improve the programming and fix any broken mechanical parts.  This is finally followed by the knockout rounds on Sunday that determines the competition winner. Many robots do not even survive the competition, with robots running into each other and into walls, motors burning out, and mechanical parts breaking in the process.  But this year we not only survived, and in spite of having to replace a servo motor between each of the five knock-out rounds, CATS Robotics triumphed and walked away as the proud winners of the Student Robotics 2017 competition! Watch the final match where CATS win here. (Click here) 


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