Abu-Robocon is an Asia-Pacific level Robotics competition focusing on real life problems that the world faces like the energy crisis and finding a source for sustainable applications. Teams like Japan, China, Vietnam, India participate to showcase their technological prowess in this battle of wits.
Take us back to how and why the group started.
Back in 2009, Team Robocon IITR was founded with the sole purpose of gaining an edge over the technological advancements surfacing in this tech savvy era. And to apply our knowledge to the test by competing with others that share the same enthusiasm and passion for robotic advancements in India. Our alumni collaborated with Models Section of Hobbies club and transformed it to Models and Robotics Section (MARS in short).
Tell us about your recent performance in the competition.
Since attaining the Best Debut Team Award in 2009, there was no turning back. We have been in the India Top 8 twice, stood 5th in 2016 and secured the Best Aesthetic Award.
What was the problem statement this year?
This year the theme was energizing the world. We had to build 2 robots, an autonomous and an unpowered bot. The autonomous bot had to push the unpowered bot on a designated path using non contact forces. After completing the path, the bot had to climb a 2.5 metre pole and achieve “Chai yo” (Cheers from the host country - Thailand).
How does the team function to get the bot ready?
The team is divided into 2 parts - Design & Fabrication, Controls & Algorithm. As the names suggest, the Design team works on the 3D model and multi body dynamic analysis of the bot while the Controls team focuses on the navigation and actuation of the bot. The team works like a startup, focusing on R&D all year round and with the help of rapid prototyping, able to implement the research on the bot effectively.
What support do you receive from alumni and faculty?
The Robocon Alumnus are constantly updated with the ongoing research and progress of the team. Most teammates feel a sense of attachment even after they have left IITR. Working in their own startups and big companies, they are able to help us in outsourcing components, 3D printing parts that are otherwise complicated to manufacture, provide financial and Moral support. The IITR faculty have been with us in every step, easing out administrative issues inside IITR and providing research facilities for solving the otherwise complex parts of the problem statement.
What are some roadblocks that you face?
Undertaking such a monumental task obviously has its obstacles. I remember the week before the 2016 Robocon, we were practicing vigorously in order to achieve the lowest possible time for completing the task. And in our practice, we completely overlooked the mechanical fatigue damaging the main chassis. Unfortunately, the customized slider arm that we had designed and fabricated needed to be replaced. The task that would have otherwise taken a week to complete, took 3 days of back to back night outs immediately after which we packed our bots and departed for Pune. It took the combined effort of the 25 team members to get the bot up and running again.
Watch Out! congratulates the team on their impressive recent showings and wishes them the best for their future endeavours.