As you may know, last month the 2016 FIRST Robotics Challenge was revealed. This year’s challenge is referred to as STRONGHOLD. The basis of the game is for high school students to build a robot that can pick-up dodge balls, carry them over or through various obstacles, and toss them at the opponent’s targets seven feet in the air.

In each match, two randomly chosen alliances of three teams compete against each other. Points are awarded to each alliance for conquering obstacles and scoring dodge balls. The alliance with the most points at the end of the two-minute fifteen-second round wins.

Advanced robotics companies love this challenge because it relates to these common real life situations:

Robotic material handling is a real application!

Ok, so yes we are a bit biased, but majority a of robots in the workforce today are tasked with picking an item, then carrying and placing the item at specified locations.  Each one of these steps involves accounting for precise mapping, gripping and motor speed. Our company alone has several advanced robots to do these methods.

Planning for changing landscapes and patterns

There are over 10,000 possible outcomes for the STRONGHOLD obstacles. This means the robots need to be able to create infinite maps or have the ability to change travel patterns on the fly. Real-world applications such as Roombas, self-driving cars, and robotic fleets need to be able to do the same or else there can be many safety complications.

Healthy competition drives teamwork and innovation

Each team is allowed to alter their design after each competition in a means to advance their product. Sometimes these alterations are based on repairing components, but the majority of the time, teams learn from each other how to be the most efficient. Having the platform to work with other teams to drive innovation is exactly what happens in the real-world.

Want to know more about the FRC STRONGHOLD season?

Be sure to follow FRC GameSense with their weekly live broadcast show starting March 2, 2016 at 9pm EST. FRC GameSense is a show that recaps strategy and gameplay of weekly FRC events.

Post is compliments of Symbotic: