RoboCon 2024 Review

Published on Thu Apr 11 2024

The fifth instalment of the Hills Road RoboCon competition took place on the 10th and 11th April 2024. The competition launched in October 2023, and saw several teams come in to begin planning their designs and strategies. The blog post from the launch can be found here.

This year the theme was “Hot Potato” which involved a game where robots were tasked with removing potatoes (cubes) from their quadrant of the arena, while also aiming to secure their jacket potato, located opposite to their pasture. After six months of developing their designs and programming their robots, a total of 16 teams put their final products to the test in the RoboCon arena. View the rules of the "Hot Potato" game here.

# Results

The Frontier Ingenuity Award - Impington Village College

This award, also known as the “Supreme Spuds” award: given to the team who demonstrated technical or logical developments which widened the field of possibilities. Presented by Frontier Developments.

The CMR Perseverance Award – Highfield School

Next we have the team perseverance award, given to the team who showed great resilience in the face of adversity, and demonstrated excellent problem-solving skills. Presented by CMR Surgical.

The Redgate Theme Award – Bottisham Village College

The “A-Peeling Artistry” award is given in praise of robot and team flair, shown through the eye-catching and clever aesthetic design of the robot. Presented by Redgate.

3rd Place – Trumpington Team 1

The team employed a popular quadrant sweeping sequence at the beginning of each of the rounds, using their mecanum wheels to swiftly move from side to side and push forward. This robust robot’s performance was a memorable part of the competition.

2nd Place – Trumpington Team 3

Trumpington Team 3’s robot went straight for the jacket potato in the later rounds, displaying accurate and effective movement which consistently retrieved their target. It was impressive to see their code and calibration develop so fast over the course of the competition.

1st Place – King’s Ely

This year the crown went to King’s Ely. The team’s robot - with farmers working away around its chassis – was one of the earliest examples of the strategy where robots would sweep back and forth, while incrementing their angle, covering a wide range of their quadrant very quickly. This resulted in very few cubes being left behind in their quadrant at the end of each round, and this was extremely effective over the course of the competition.

# Highlights

Some other highlights over the course of the competition included Highfield School climbing their way to the finals, placing 4th overall and rightfully claiming the perseverance award with their problem-solving skills, as reflected in their programming.

Cambourne Team 2 also showed resilience over the course of the first day of the competition, rebuilding the bulk of their code and making an unprecedented comeback in the seeding rounds.

There were a number of robots constructed from Lego this year, such as Longsands and Impington. This is a popular way of making sure robots can endure long-term stress, and many of them were extremely secure internally.

Alongside these, there were some other very impressive designs, not only from a decorative perspective, but also from a practical standpoint, such as Haydon who designed their robot after a pirate ship with a potato sail. Also, the winner of the A-Peeling artistry award showed excellent versatility as their robot, Spuddy McSpudface, used very flexible arms in case of entanglements, and code which reversed in the case of wall impacts.

# Finally

Thank you to all teams who competed in RoboCon 2024 for a fantastic competition, and the teachers and mentors who put in the time to support them. It was a pleasure to have you all this year, and you should all be very proud of your creations!

RoboCon is funded in its entirety by the generous support from a myriad of businesses, so we would like to thank our sponsors: CMR Surgical, Frontier Developments, The Technology Partnership, Redgate and Microsoft.

For our final thank you, we’d like to show appreciation for our mentors: Will Munns, Matthew Smalley and David Massey, whose support kept us afloat during both the setup and competition phases. Without them, RoboCon would not exist and their work is invaluable to us.

Keep an eye on this page for information about RoboCon 2025 in the coming months! And remember…

Don’t Walk, do the robot!