For the 2017-2018 season, the team chose the ASME Student Design Competition as the season's challenge.
The challenge for the year was robot soccer. Four teams would compete against eachother to score goals using tennis balls. Each team could have any number of robots as long as they all fit within a 50cm cube. The field was comprised of a 5m x 5m playing surface with a team's goal on each wall. Eight tennis balls would start in the middle. Each game consisted of two 5 minute halves. Scoring was as follows:
The complete rules can be found here.
The team developed three robots for use in the competition - one for offense and two for defense. The offensive bot had a tennis ball shooter for scoring balls and the two defensive bots each had a wall for blocking shots and a solenoid kicker. More details about these bots can be found here.
The competition took place at Pamona California. The team drove there and arrived the day before competition. As is the custom with robotics competitions, the night before was a mad scramble to get things working. All robots were assembled and wired, and the defense bots were running as intended. But the offensive bot was not working. After a few hours and some somewhat aggresive threats directed the way of the offensive bot, of the team did successfully get it running and even had some time to do some practice in the hotel lobby.
At the competition the next day, things mostly went smoothly. There were approximatly 32 teams at the competition. Through the preliminary rounds, we were fairly successful and generally one of the higher scoring teams. We found that we did have some issues with speed though. Some teams employed the swarm strategy and used a large number of small fast robots. This was difficult for our team to defend against since our robots were mostly on the slower side and we only had three of them. At the end of the qualifying rounds, our score left us near the middle of the pack. Since only the top eight teams continued on, that ended the competition for our team.
Even though we would have liked to place better, this was still a solid showing considering this was our first year at this competition. The members of our team worked really hard this year and did a great job. We are excited for next year!