Berkeley Robotics Attend the First Tech Challenge UK

25th April 2024

On Wednesday 24th April Berkeley Robotics visited Aston University Engineering Academy to compete in the Regional Tournament of the First Tech Challenge UK. The FTC is the world’s largest robotics competition sponsored by RTX (formerly Raytheon). The challenge encourages 6 months of student-directed learning, with an RTX mentor, culminating in a Regional, National and then Global competition.

At this year’s regional challenge, Berkeley Robotics truly demonstrated the ‘Gracious Professionalism’ that is so central to this competition. Throughout every match, the team remained positive, upbeat and enjoyed their time at the event. They cheered on other teams and went out of their way to congratulate and celebrate with other schools. It was noted by several event hosts how mature, energetic and delighted they were with other teams’ designs, and how they seemed to be enjoying the event for what it was; a celebration of ingenious engineering!

The Berkeley Robot (20992) was one of only 2 Robots that was capable of successful suspension from a central crossbar which earned their team an additional 30 points in each round. The team strategized well, quickly learning that the speed and power of their drivetrain was capable of pushing tiles to their alliance partner for stacking on the mosaic board.

Overall, while Berkeley Robotics have not qualified for Nationals this Year, they did make it into the Finalist Alliance of the Regional Round, making them runners-up and putting them on a waitlist for the competition in Cambridge. Furthermore, for the first time in our school’s involvement in this contest, they won the ‘Think Award’ for their outstanding Engineering Portfolio and their clear and demonstrated ability to remove engineering obstacles through creative thinking. The judges were highly impressed with their abilities and attitude throughout the build season.

Toby, the team’s Project Manager and Data Manager has done a fantastic job of organising and time-managing the processes during build season. James and Joe collaborated on their efforts to produce the brilliant CAD model and final render of the robot which blew the judges away in the portfolio. Amaury put together the portfolio and drew on the strengths of all his team members, contributing his own engineering ideas and knowledge to the project. James and Ben, our graphic designers and Health & Safety Managers, worked closely with Harry, our Outreach and Communications Officer to coordinate sponsorships from local employers and represent each company in the robot’s design. They also printer roller banners and T-shirts to take to the competition. Angus, Tom and Max were our brilliant drivetrain and software engineers who put the robot together once the final design was realised. Everyone collaborated together and got involved with every aspect of the season, and built up so many new and existing technical and transferable skills in the process.

A huge congratulations is in order for the team, and a huge thank you to their RTX mentor who has given up every other Friday to volunteer in coaching them to build this robot. Berkeley Green UTC are incredibly proud of your results and efforts this year; you have worked incredibly hard, and demonstrated tireless enthusiasm and maturity throughout. We must also thank the Team’s sponsors for this season; Oval Business Solutions, RTX, North Tower Consulting, Bailey Paints, Renishaw, with additional thanks to the generous GoFundMe Donations of Sarah Parker, Susan Dyke, Karren Kinnaird and those who wish to remain anonymous.

Berkeley Green Robotics are delighted to be making a comeback in September 2024 with the ongoing support of the Gloucester RTX branch. On entering into the next season, this year’s team have graciously offered their support as Senior STEM Mentors to next year’s Year 12 Team. They will use the remainder of this season to network for scrimmages with other local schools, and to get a head start on autonomous programming.