Some Bad News… and then the Great News

The success and awareness of RoboRace 2012 has excited not only the team, but the contestants and spectators. People have been asking us whether RoboRace 2013 is happening and what we were going to do. So here comes the news…

Due to unforeseen circumstances, RoboRace 2013 will be postponed… (Wait for it… no seriously… Wait for it)… because we’ve been selected as one of the projects to represent World Design Capital 2014 right here in Cape Town! (Isn’t that awesome!). After all the planning and organizing, we’ve made the decision to postpone the event to meet World Design Capital 2014 head on! A lot of you have been asking questions, and here’s the news you’ve been waiting for. Bringing the game to World Design Capital 2014 with RoboRace 2014 is going to be a feat of awesome magnitudes!WDC LOGOSLast year we had a team of first years who came back to us saying that they learnt the most in the 2 weeks they took part in RoboRace 2012 – with that been said, we’re hoping to give our contestants better support to learn as much as possible.

Age is not a factor that determines how great you can become if you put your foot into the Pool of Knowledge… your first step may be scary, but once you learn how to swim – the Pool is your kingdom and soon you will be on a speed boat in the Sea… no, the Ocean of Knowledge that is out there. Make not age a factor in your ability to bring it — the game is open for you to challenge it, so bring your best – only through hard work will you see results. No one is born brilliant but for those who are, hard work is the only thing that gets you going… Hard work beats genius any day, so bring the hard work and see the genius within prosper.

WDC LOGOS2

OK, enough with our rambling… You know what you need to do. Those interested be sure to contact us. We’re looking for the Engineers that will change and shape the world of Tomorrow, not Today.

Bring your best to RoboRace 2014. Take the lead into first place and expect some awesome prizes. Are you ready for some awesomeness? Things are getting heated. Let’s hear you rev up your excitement! RR2014 is coming!

The RoboRace Team (o(o_(o_o)_o)o) <— Yup, our drones are back!

RoboRace SA 2012 — The Idea in a Real-life Setting

Hey guys. Hope all of you are doing really well in the new year. It’s going to be one awesome year ahead, so let’s get the wheels rolling, shall we?

Many of the spectators at last year’s event were confused as to how our competition was relevant to the real world.

As engineers, the problem of getting your ideas across to the public can be very strenuous and difficult one, as there is so much to understand when trying to explain something extraordinary to the layman… To be completely truthful, it is an Art.

An engineer with the ability to get his idea over to the public without bringing in all the mambo-jambo-high-tech-scientific-speak is one who should be paid well at any innovative tech-developing company.

Back to what I was saying: At RoboRace SA 2012, participants were challenged to have a small RC racer drive autonomously around a track. If you haven’t seen the video yet… check it out at [RoboRace SA 2012 Video Compilation]. As I mentioned above, many spectators were asking us, what the real world applications were of what we were trying to do at RoboRace SA 2012… and the answer comes from none other than Google itself :P (hehehe).

Google’s engineer Sebastian Thrun, and 14 other engineers, developed a driverless car (named Stanley) which is fully autonomous. If we were to think about this — Stanley is a bigger, real-life version of the cars at RoboRace SA 2012, with a lot more gadgets, sensors, and $$$. This is a feat in the engineering world. In August 2012, Stanley had clocked in over 500 000 kilometres of autonomous accident-free driving! (I’m sorry — Mind = Officially blown!). If you think that’s awesome… A man who is 95% blind did a full day’s errands independantly, using Stanley. The idea that you can give a disabled person that independance, just makes me glow inside (and not in a weird way) when I think about the future.

To all of our spectators, be prepared for more information this year. We’re making it our mission to explain RoboRace 2013 to our spectators, to give a greater understanding of the real world applications. To our participants, be ready for something awesome.

Below I’ve attached the Youtube video of Sebastian Thrun’s TED talk (and if you haven’t yet heard of TED, check out the TED link — Amazing open-minded ideas for everyone). Check it out guys, and read up on Google’s Driverless Car… seems like a future I’m looking forward to.

Sebastian Thrun: Google’s Driverless Car

TED – Sebastian Thrun

Looking forward to the year ahead… Over and Out.

aMoon — RoboRace SA’s fat guy :).

RoboRace Day 2012, Photos – Part 1

RoboRace SA 2012 Mini Slideshow:

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View the rest of our media…

The path less travelled!

After many long hours of planning, sleepless nights and many burnt fingers later, RoboRace SA pulled off a very successful first event! The first RoboRace SA had 9 teams on race day from 3 universities.

Throughout the day the teams were hard at work tinkering about, trying to shave off those precious seconds from each lap. The winning team came from UCT Robotics and Agents lab with their “Hammerhead” robot, which ate up the competition.

The first RoboRace day was a great success, with everyone enjoying themselves. It was a big learning experience especially for the organising exec and at the end of the day all the teams were already planning their strategies for RoboRace SA 2013!

Are You Ready… for Awesomeness?

Sooo… here we are. The night before the competition. We’ve been at it all day, putting in the necessary blood, sweat, tears and soldering iron, to get everything ready for tomorrow’s excitement.

We hope that all the teams are ready for an amazing experience tomorrow… the very first RoboRace SA. The planning of this competition has been an amazing experience for the whole team, and we hope that it has been the same for our amazing participants. We seriously can’t wait to see what you guys bring to the track tomorrow and show our spectators some real engineering.

Artificially Intelligent Racers, all designed to follow a line. What people might think to be something basic, has great implications in the real world, such as a rescue robot following the temperature signature of a human being trapped under rocks in a cave, or a robot using a metal detector to search for land mines in a battlefield, mapping the danger zones of the area. Each of those robots have sensors, specific to their function and are equipped with devices for it to do it’s job well, much like how the racers tomorrow will be sensing the line to follow and attempting to do it as fast and as efficiently as possible.

Race Day is scheduled for excitement and awesomeness, and tomorrow is going to be nothing short of incredible.

Get ready for a display of robotics and artificial intelligence. 44 Engineers, 11 Teams, 0 Drivers. Let’s get ready to RoboRace!!

See you guys there. 9 AM. UCT Sport Centre 1. Don’t miss the action. Epicness will be there. Will you?

The RoboRace SA 2012 Team and our mascots (+(+_(+_+)_+)+) <— Robot Army. For.The.Win.

Giving Light to the Situation

Ah! We’re so close to Race Day, and our participants are doing their best to bring the awesomeness to the floor.

The picture above shows the starting and finishing lights that will be used during the race to signal to racers that they need to either go or stop. Most people just look past the fact that these racers need to be equipped with sensors which have to be able to distinguish between colours, much like how humans need eyes to see and a brain to understand what colour he or she is seeing.
That’s the exciting part of this competition; making a racer with high intelligence (Artificial Intelligence!) that understands it’s function and does it well. Artificial intelligence is a growing part of science, engineering and technology, and is a very interesting and uber-exciting part of this competition.
We wish all our teams taking part this year the best of luck for the days nearing Race Day. To our fans and our spectators, get ready for RoboRace SA 2012.
 44 Participants, 11 Teams, 0 Drivers! Where Man meets RoboRacer.

Race Day draws Near

RoboRace SA 2012 is just around the corner… soo close that we can smell the solder being melted and can feel the current flowing in the veins of our participants and spectators. It’s truly heating up, as we approach the start line.

The anticipation is unbearable and we really can’t wait to see what our participants bring to the track, so we would like to remind you of a few things:

- Venue: UCT Sports Centre 1
- Date: Sunday, 02 December 2012 (so close! you can almost touch it!)
- Time: 09h00 – 16h30
- Entrance is Free! So bring everyone along for the day.
- Food will be available, so bring some moola with you.
- RoboRace SA Events Page: RoboRace SA 2012 – Race Day!


Don’t forget, not only will there be prizes up for grabs for our participants, spectators will also have the chance to grab something special and memorable from the first ever RoboRace SA. The day will be filled with other exciting displays and activities for our spectators, especially those interested in Robotics and Engineering.

So, bring everyone along for some great fun and exciting races. It’s bound to get electric. Wishing you all a great time during the holiday and festive season,

The RoboRace SA 2012 Team —  d ^_^ b
… and our drone army (of course) — (+(+_(+_+)_+)+)

Important for teams: Check out the RoboRace SA 2012 Schedule to see when your team will be qualifying, and the lineup for the day.

The Track

The track is the most fundamental part of a good day out for racers. The feel of the road under your feet as you go around the long sweeping bends, the G-forces on your body as you dive the car into those sharp turns just after your eyes were popping out under heavy braking, the pure thrill of putting your foot down on the long straight leaving your spleen at the corner from which you just took off….

While all this is not technically possible since we’re busy with automated model cars, it is what inspired the track design; I envisaged myself through every bend of the course, learning the turns, the braking points, the gear shifts. Once it was apparent what was needed to test the limits of the cars, it was clear which circuit to use as a basis: The track is inspired by the great Formula 1 circuit of Suzuka in Japan. It is one of the most technical circuits in the F1 season and it boasts one of the fastest turns in the sport.

Suzuka - RoboRace SA 2012 Track Inspiration

2012 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix – This should make for some exciting racing :D :D :D

The RoboRace SA committee wishes best of luck to all participants. Walking around UCT and seeing some of the ideas people have is making us excited for race day! Looks like it’s going to be an awesome competition.

See you all on Sunday.

…::: Where it all began :::…

When starting a major project, it’s often extremely hard to just to get off the ground. Ideas are flying around and often nothing is grounded completely unless a project has a good base. RoboRace SA was no different.

 

Our friends from RoboRace Ukraine generously offered to help us with the beginning stages, allowing us to modify their rules and giving us ideas on what we wanted from the competition, and without their help RoboRace SA would have not been what it is today.

If anything, we look up to their progress in the promotion of robotics, engineering, and application programming. It gets us charged up to think that something so amazingly fun has become so popular in Ukraine and Europe.

When this project started, we thought about RoboRace SA going from regionals (where we’re at now) to nationals to the International stages (No, this is not Glee), and it’s really not that far away. Our friends in Ukraine have invited any team who wishes to come to their competition to come check it out, offering free acommodation and meals to any teams who find themselves there.

Our deepest gratitude goes out to the RoboRace Ukraine Team and their awesome ways. We hope that RoboRace SA is just as great and successful as RoboRace Ukraine has been and will be :)

As the day draws even closer to Race Day at RoboRace SA 2012, we’re all getting excited. Let’s show the guys oversees what we’re made of. Let’s give them something to look forward to when we face them on the International Stage.

RoboRace SA 2012 Teams… Gear up for some greatness. 2nd of December, here we come!

RoboRace SA Rules… coz SA Rules!

Don’t forget to check our Ukrainian friends out at:

RoboRace Ukraine FB Page, RoboRace Ukraine FB Group & RoboRace Ukraine

Good Luck to all our teams. Wish you all the best through these awesome times.