(Viking Robotics Team – Kevin Dong, Andrew Ilyas, Nick Bedi, Tony Hu, Rong Li, Tom Sun, Benjamin Caldwell, Tianyu Guo, Keyan Raahemifar, Einston Wei, Yota Ohashi and Carey Hulls)
Congratulation go out to the Viking Robotics Team from Waterloo Collegiate Institute for their outstanding showing at International Autonomous Robot Racing Challenge. The team of Kevin Dong, Andrew Ilyas, Nick Bedi, Tony Hu, Rong Li, Tom Sun, Benjamin Caldwell, Tianyu Guo, Keyan Raahemifar, Einston Wei, Yota Ohashi and Carey Hulls; finished 4th overall and 3rd in the design challenge.
The 2014 International Autonomous Robot Racing Challenge (IARRC) was held at the University of Waterloo this year. The competition was first held in April 2005 and attracts teams from many of the universities across Canada. IARRC goal is to promote research in autonomous mobile robotics technology, through creating a competition that introduces students to real world, hands-on engineering design challenges. The Waterloo Collegiate Institute (WCI) robotics club was created in September 2014 by Kevin Dong and Yota Ohashi as a means of bringing together STEM students of different skill sets and unite them under the common interest for robotics.
Kevin Dong describes to Developing Innovations the journey, along with the challenges and the successes the team went through on route to developing a successful robotic team: “The club began small and largely inexperienced, but as the months passed, we gained more footing and learned a lot on our own through experimentation and small projects. In December, Andrew Ilyas suggested that we had the necessary knowledge and interest to enter in the International Autonomous Robot Racing Challenge (IARRC) held at the University of Waterloo. Part of the club then split off and formed the WCI IARRC team, Viking Robotics. This was to be a truly extraordinary endeavour for us as we would be the only high school team competing.”
“Viking Robotics had a slightly rough beginning, with little funding, mentorship and experience in building the kind of robots suitable for the objectives of the IARRC (a 30m drag race and also a circuit race with the need to detect a traffic light and avoid other robots). In June though, we had managed to secure the minimum required funding in both supplies and money from local companies Aeryon Labs and Com Dev International Ltd., and had the assistance of two university professors (S. Bedi and C. Hulls). When the summer came, our progress accelerated exponentially. We spent most of the day at UW coding, building and testing, usually returning home late at night, and we were loving it. It was an amazing experience to work alongside university graduate students in the same office/lab and having them give us advice and guidance along the way. Our determination to succeed and our passion was what enabled us to create the final robot that we were all proud of.”
“Unfortunately on game day, the competition track was moved inside due to weather limitations. The glare off the floor confused the camera we used for pathway detection and our overall performance was greatly reduced. The disadvantage of having little funding had taken its toll. We finished 4th overall and 3rd in the design challenge.”
“We were not disappointed however, because in the end it was not our abilities that let us down. In under a year, we had surpassed personal limits and worked together in something we all loved. Our spirits were boosted even more during the awards ceremony, the coordinator announced that WCI, for their effort on being the only high school competitor, will be receiving $500 of funding to kickstart next year’s participation. Although some members will be staying to lead next year’s team, others will be starting new teams at their respective universities. We will all be back next year.”
The Viking Robotics and Developing Innovations realize how important sponsors are in making things happen in the field of STEM and therefore we would like to thank Aeryon and Com Dev for giving the support necessary both in the funding and supplies because without their help this great STEM learning experience would not have happened. We would also like to thank professor’s S. Bedi and C. Hulls for all their help.
Aeryon Labs is the small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) provider at the center of major world events and international media stories. A recognized technology and industry leader, Aeryon Labs is the trusted partner of civil and military customers, resellers, and other commercial business partners around the globe. Founded in 2007, Aeryon Labs is a Canadian Controlled Private Company with headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. http://www.aeryon.com/
COM DEV International Ltd. is a global designer and manufacturer of space hardware and systems. We are world leaders in the production of space-qualified passive microwave equipment, specialized electronics and optical subsystems. In addition, we provide microsatellite mission solutions ranging from mission concept studies to launch and operations. http://www.comdev.ca/
Interested in learning more about other amazing S.T.E.M. students and the latest S.T.E.M. news:
Follow us at https://twitter.com/Aidan_Aird