I was invited by a Test Engineering Consultant and friend to attend a robot battle competition at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. I had never been to such a competition so I didn’t know what to expect. What an amazing experience!
I found myself in a lecture hall packed with students, not to mention a few recruiters from Bosch and other engineering employers. The teams were as diverse as their robots. They were from different engineering departments: software, mechanical, electrical. The robots were entirely autonomous. Once the competition began, the robots functioned on their own, using their sensors and motors. No remote controls.
The object of the game was to push the opponent robot out of the magnetic circle, similar to a sumo competition. When the buzzer sounded, the crowds roared like what I’d imagine in a boxing competition. The robots pushed and pounded and used all kinds of maneuvers to out fox the opponent. Some of them spun at very high speeds, confusing the opponents sensors, and then pounding into them. Others slow but heavy and deadly. One was covered with a furry coat! That was the all female team, whose robot made it to the finals.
Cluj-Napoca, Romania is an IT hub with hundreds of computer science graduates each year.