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Robotics race 1

Racing robots on the loose at Upper School

There was a showdown involving robots at Upper Canada College last month, but it had nothing to do with the HBO television series Westworld.

No, this battle involved the robotics teams from UCC and St. Clement’s School and their respective faculty supervisors in a competition to see who could make the fastest robot. UCC’s faculty supervisor is Upper School computer science and business technology teacher Kevin Olds.

“The UCC robotics team is one of the school’s oldest clubs and competes every year in V3X robotics competitions, as well as running our own Horizons program and other events,” says student John Mace. “Over the course of this year, we made visits to BSS as well as St. Clement’s School to test our robots, hold practice competitions and exchange designs.”

Robotics race 2

UCC and St. Clement’s students prepared their robots before racing.

During the season, robotics teams focus on designing, building and programming a robot that can best complete the year’s competition task. However, at the final competition of this year, the UCC club heads challenged the St. Clement’s team to a race to see which school could make the fastest robot in a “no rules” race.

Six students from UCC and a dozen from St. Clement’s gathered in the Upper School third-floor science hallway, which has a 50-metre straightaway, after classes ended on April 25.

“St. Clement’s built three robots in teams of two to six students while UCC allowed each member to build their own robot, while still able to request help and advice from their fellow club members,” says Mace. “We would like to thank our donors for making this possible, as well as allowing us to buy new equipment such as double action pneumatics, LCD displays and safety gear.”

After all of this build-up, however, Mace says there was no clear winner.

“St. Clement’s had the fastest robot but were unable to drive the full length of the course due to very narrow wheel placement. UCC won the peer-polled award for innovation due to the unconventional yet effective designs for two of their robots, as well as being able to complete the course.”

No matter the outcome, however, the competitors from both schools had a great time and shared some pizza.

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