Robot in the wars at annual competition

Collyer's Robot Wars SUS-140605-130448001
Collyer's Robot Wars SUS-140605-130448001

A team of talented students from Collyer’s took part in the Student Robotics Competition at Newbury Racecourse last weekend.

The annual competition run by Southampton University, and sponsored by Motorola, challenges teams of 16-18 year-olds to build fully autonomous robots. They are given six months to design, build, program and test their robots, ready to compete against other teams.

This year the competition attracted over three hundred students, across fifty four schools, and three different countries. At the start of day 2, Collyer’s were riding high in 5th place, but a broken wheel-shaft proved difficult to repair and hampered further progress.

Subject Leader for Computing at Collyer’s, Di Dowling, explained: “Team Collyer’s was made up of Computer Science and ICT students, who have met regularly over recent months to build and program their robot. Our students produced an excellent machine, certainly good enough to have a chance of reaching the final. Even after disaster struck, we still managed to compete and ended up in a respectable 22nd place which was a great effort. The team were amazingly good natured and worked really well as a group.”

Over two days, the Collyer’s robot competed in 17 league matches, against three other robots at a time. The aim in each game was for the robot to find coded cardboard boxes, rotate them and place them into central zones, with bonuses for placing boxes in adjacent slots. In between each match there was much frenetic “tweaking” of robot and code – no mean feat with only 20 minutes to execute and test each change.

Di Dowling is already planning for the 2015 Robot Building Championship: “On the positive side, we had a great time and can’t wait to compete again next year!”

Collyer’s Assistant Principal, Melanie Russell, was extremely proud: “These talented students should be commended as they have worked astonishingly hard to be competitive in this international championship. We owe huge thanks to Di and our Head of Maths, Rob Ettridge for supporting this weekend event.”

Report and pictures contributed by Collyer’s.