Today the Masachusetts state championship for the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), a worldwide high school level robotics competition, was held at Natick High School.
The Saint John’s High School Pioneer Robotics Team of Shrewsbury, MA, achieved its first State Championship title in its sophomore season. After a disastrous first round which left Pioneer Robotics near the last place, they won all of their remaining qualifying matches and were selected to compete in the championship matches later in the day. In the semifinal rounds, the Pioneers and their alliance partners prevailed after three close matches, placing them in the finals. In the finals, the matches were likewise close, and the scores were the among the highest scored in Massachusetts this year. Pioneer robotics along with their alliance partners came out of the battle victorious among the thirty-four other teams. They are one of the four teams to move on from this competition and will be competing at one of two world championship events held in Detroit, Michigan.
The Pioneer Robotic also won the prestigious Collins Aerospace Innovate Award, which is given to the team that has the most innovative and creative robot design. This distinction is only given to a team that has a robot that is both unconventional but also consistently functional.
FIRST Tech Challenge is an international robotics competition with more than 5,000 participating teams from around the globe. Participating teams must design, build and program a robot capable of completing a set of challenges. Each year’s set of challenges is different from those of prior years. During the first 30 seconds of a match, the robot completes tasks autonomously, that is, the robot makes decisions based on pre-programmed instructions. Then, for two minutes, the robot is controlled by a team of two drivers.
FIRST Tech Challenge incorporates a diversity of technical and non-technical activities, including mechanical engineering, outreach to the community, promotion of STEM, programming, and Computer Assisted Design. The team is currently preparing for the world championship, which is held in the Detroit Lions’ stadium from April 24th to April 27th.