On 19th and 20th November, two teams representing IEEE USM Student Branch participated in the International Advanced Robotic Competition (iARC) organised by IEEE UTP Student Branch. The competition was held at Chancellor Hall of Universiti Teknologi Petronas. Both teams managed to clinch the game by dominating the podium as the overall champion and 2nd runner up.
Organised by IEEE UTP Student Branch, with supports from industrial leading companies such as IEEERAS, Intel, Vitrox, Tekmark and Cytron, iARC was organised with the sole purpose of harnessing the best of engineering and science students across the globe to compete in a friendly and challenging team-based Robotics event. The theme of the robotic competition this year was ‘Sustaining the Environment through Reforestation’. Contestants were required to build and program their robots in order to pick up shuttlecocks representing trees and place them in the appropriate area(reforestation region) to mimic the act of tree planting.
There was a total of 13 teams comprising of students from both local and international universities and polytechnics, such as Hanbat National University, Politeknik Ibrahim Sultan, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi Petronas. As only autonomous robots were allowed, participants had to spend the night before the competition calibrating their robots on the field prepared by the organizer, which was not available to them until the eve of the competition. Prior to this, they can only test their robots on tracks they built themselves. Participants were seen mostly building their robots using the Lego EV3 kits. However, a few teams displayed their creativity by utilising Arduino and 3D printed parts.
On the day of the competition, the participants were given a total of 10 minutes per round, 5 minutes for the final calibration and 5 minutes for actual competition. Out of the participating 13 teams, only 6 will be able to advance to the final rounds. ‘Dr Agora’ team lead by Tinesh secured the first spot by scoring a near perfect score in the preliminary round, with a large score difference between them and the second team. Although ‘Firefly’ team lead by Siong King Soon did not do well in the preliminary round, their score were fortunately high enough to advance into the subsequent finals.
In the finals, ‘Dr Agora’ also managed to obtain a near perfect score, dusting the second team. Their robot was well calibrated and accurate, using the slow and steady approach which is the reason behind their victory. ‘Firefly’ on the other hand, changed their strategy from trying to fulfill the objective, to aiming to obtain the maximum points in the finals and managed to come in third in the end, second only to UTP’s very own ‘Roborexx’ team, who also did well in the competition.
The representatives from IEEE USM Student Branch received good comments on their robots’ design and strategy. They also had a great bonding among the committees of iARC from IEEE UTP Student Branch and the participants from other universities.