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Toylta Challenge Robet Has a Mind of Its Own

03 July 2009

Five boys studying GCSE Design and Technology entered the 2008/09 Toyota Challenge with a robot that they had designed and made themselves in the Design Centre. The challenge required them to create a vehicle that could autonomously navigate itself around a series of randomly placed obstacles. After submitting their design folder in February the team named ‘Fire Fly\' were successful in being selected to compete in the Midlands\' Regional Final in March. This was an accomplishment in itself as over 50 teams had entered the competition from around the region, only 7 of them making it through to this event. The performance of the robot was sadly dogged with technical problems including the inconsistent reliability of its three ultra-sound sensors; these acted as its eyes and enabled it to ‘see\' its way around the course. Fortunately the team were able to use the back up system which included touch sensors to allow the robot to ‘feel\' itself around. In fact ‘Fire Fly\' was the only robot on the day that successfully completed the course but as this was in a practice run it did not count towards the team\'s final score. The boys finally ended up in fourth position, a very successful debut appearance. The roboteers were Pratteek Bathula, Nathan Molnar, Kiyam Lin, James Prance and Wesley Payne. Pictured is the team\'s robot ‘Fire Fly\' with its colourful body work removed.

PAB

Photo: The recalcitrant robot Fire Fly.