EMCS graduate Rowan Hensley testing out last year’s robot for EMCS’s robotics team. Hensley will be reprising his role for the 2017 competition as team mentor.

EMCS robotics team ramps up for spring competition

But things are a bit more different this time round though.

EMCS robotics team ramps up for spring competition

Gears are turning and gigabytes of data are surging for Edward Milne Community School’s robotics team as it prepares for this spring’s competition.

Things are a bit more different this time round though.

Teams are split into two, with one robot per two crew members – one robot will be piloted, while the other will be fully autonomous – a first for the competition.

“It’ll be a challenge because it eliminates all team aspect and gets rid of both the pilot and the spotter,” said Triston Line, who served as the team’s software engineer and mechanic last year.

Line pointed out that team communication was a bonus last year, as coordinating through the course was critical to the robot’s efficiency and ability to pick up and move objects around.

Going autonomous, while fascinating, presents its own world of challenges; after all, how does one find the ghost in the machine and tell it what to do?

“It makes it so much easier, but at the same time so much harder, because it’s a small team and now you have tons of programming involved,” Line said.

For the 2017 competition in Abbotsford, the new challenge is to move mini footballs from one side of the court to the other. The other side of the court has a bin, or a hole that the robot can launch the ball through. Anything higher provides more points.

With both robots competing on the same track, teams would almost be competing against themselves in a way, Line added.

Line said the team is still in its initial planning stages, as well as looking for components. This year, total cost for EMCS’s robotics team to compete is $2,000.