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St Paul’s College storm to victory in Student Robotics 2021

Student Robotics 2021 Virtual Competition came to an exciting conslusion today, with the rookie team from St Paul’s College, Adelaide, storming to victory in a close match against Hills Road Sixth Form College third team.

The Challenge: Radars of the Lost Ark

The final form of the virtual arena, as played in the fourth league session and knockouts.
The final form of the virtual arena, as played in the fourth league session and knockouts.

Our game this year, Radars of the Lost Ark, challenged teams to score points by claiming territories using radios. Teams had to navigate the arena scanning for tower transmissions and sending their own transmissions back to claim territories. However, only territories which were linked either to their starting zone or to territories already owned could be claimed. At the end of the match, teams were awarded points based on the territories they owned. Full details, including the prizes available this year, are available in the rulebook.

The Leagues

Our competition event this year spread the league stage over four weekends throughout the year. After each league session the game gained additional modules that presented new and different challenges to the competitors. In addition to the formal league sessions, there were also some more casual friendlies sessions which allowed the teams to experiment with different strategies and test their code against other teams’ in a more relaxed environment.

While this year’s competition presented a different challenge to the competitors that previous years’, the core challenge to create an autonomous robot remained the same.

Teams’ game points per league session.
Teams’ game points per league session.

During the league sessions there were some teams which showed strong early performances. Initially the teams from Hills Road Sixth Form College looked to be the teams to beat. The later leagues however were the battleground of a different collection of teams, with KEGS Chelmsford (KEG), Gymnasium Markt Indersdorf (MAI) as well as rookie teams St Paul’s College (SPA) and We Robot (WER) in particular performing the best in the fourth and most complex of the leauge sessions.

The Knockouts

This weekend the competition culmintated in a series of single-elimination knockout matches, allowing the teams robots to demonstrate the peak of their capabilities. The initial pairings of the knockouts were seeded based on performance in the leagues, however this by no means guarunteed a smooth path to the final.

Many teams had ramped up their improvements towards the end of the competition, allowing for some incredibly well contested matches and some surprising outcomes. A particular example of this was team MCK from The Malay College Kuala Kangsar who had finished the leagues near the bottom of the league table and thus faced a challenging set of matches. Nevertheless they managed to knock out the top seed, team MAI from Gymnasium Markt Indersdorf and went on to secure a place on the podium.

The Final

The final match saw St Paul’s College (SPA) and Hills Road Team 3 (HRS3) battle for the top spot. Both teams having shown their incredible abilities throughout the competition. Whilst the robots started off with very different tactics, they were both accruing points very quickly. Due to a large number of link breakages, which the robots actively detected and reacted to, the points and leader switched massively throughout the match. When the clock struck zero it was 36 points to 8 in favour of St Paul’s, giving them the title.

If you didn’t take part, or you want to enter again next year, the sign up page for next year’s competition will be up later in the year. Get a team together and start talking to your teachers now!

Results

Prize Team
1st Place SPA: St Paul’s College, Adelaide
2nd Place HRS3: Hills Road Sixth Form College Team 3
3rd Place MCK: The Malay College Kuala Kangsar
Committee Award HRS2: Hills Road Sixth Form College Team 2
Rookie Award WER: We Robot
Online Presence YSH: Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah
A podium, with rendered trophies, featuring SPA in Gold, HRS2 in Silver, and MCK in Bronze
The podium positions

With a consistently strong performance, scoring well in the first league and really stepping up their game in the final league session French team We Robot ended the league stage with the highest number of game points of any team. While this didn’t place them at the top of the league leaderboard, they were the highest placed rookie team and thus earned the Rookie Award.

The Committee Award is given for extraordinary ingenuity or simple elegance in the design of their solution. Team HRS2 from Hills Road Sixth Form College earned this prize in recognition of the high quality of the code that they wrote for their robot. In particular it was clean and easy to read, neatly organised in separate files, with good comments. Their code made good use of a state machine as part of its main control loop and PID control for their movement.

We also encourage teams to share their progress towards their robots throughout the year. Team YSH from Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah earned the Online Presence Award for their Instagram posting throughout the year covering their approach to the competition, strategy and reviews of their performance in the leagues.

For full details on all the awards, please see the rulebook.

You can see a breakdown of scores for each match, as well as the overall league ranking on the competition website.

Rewatch the streams

If you’d like to relive the highs and lows of the competition livestreams, the videos remain available on YouTube, as well as a cut-down video of the final:

Thanks

Of course, this competition would not be possible without the tireless work of our volunteers, who developed the simulated world the competition was run in and enabled us to switch to a virtual competiton. If you’d like to get involved in organising future competitions, from developing the software and hardware used by the teams to the events themselves we’re always looking for people to join our team.

Notes to editors

Student Robotics is an annual robotics competition for 16-18 year-olds in the UK and Europe. It was founded in 2006 by university students and is free to enter thanks to our sponsors and many volunteers. Since it was first run in 2008, the final competition has grown from one room at the University of Southampton1 to the UK’s biggest autonomous robotics competition.

At the start of the academic year, teams are given a kit containing custom-made electronics at a Kickstart event, where the game for the year is announced. They then have until the start of the Easter holiday to build fully-autonomous robots which will compete against each other in the final competition. They are supported by volunteer mentors, and software to assist them in programming their robots is provided.

If you would like to find out more, please get in touch.

The SR Team

  1. Student Robotics is independent from the University of Southampton. 

The SR2021 Final League Session comes to a close

With the final 36 matches of the SR2021 League complete, team MAI from Gymnasium Markt Indersdorf head up the leaderboard. They have managed to knock the teams from Hills Road Sixth Form College out of the top spot. Of our rookie teams, teams WER and SPA are looking to be the ones to watch though we’ve seen amazing progress from all teams. With just an six point spread between the top nine teams the finals are definetly much too close to close call!

Module Ⅳ, which is final iteration of this years game, was played for the first time today. This module totally redesigned the arena, while keeping the same game mechanics, meaning teams have had to make some large changes to their strategy to ensure continued success. Our new larger arena includes more territories, moveable obstacles, and new kinds of territories worth varying points.

Now the league stage of the competition is over the Knockouts await. The knockout will consist of play-in matches to identify the top 16 teams followed by four rounds of single-elimination matches. Third place will be decided by a play-off between the teams which place second in their semi-final matches. Pairings are arranged such that the higher a team’s position in the league the easier their path to the final.

If you would like to catch up on any of the matches so far, our livestreams are available on YouTube:

We look forward to seeing you for the culmination of the SR2021 Competition next week!

Date Competition Stage
1st May 2021 Knockouts and Final

Great Performance from teams during the SR2021 Third League Session

With another 36 matches of the SR2021 Competition, team HRS4 from Hills Road Sixth Form College head up the league, though a number of other teams are hot on their heels. This weekend’s matches saw great performances from our teams, including a new team, SWI from South Wilts Grammar School, who hadn’t submitted a robot for the first two league sessions.

Module Ⅲ provided a new challenge to the teams, both with the change to end state scoring and by the addition of a lockout mechanic for territories. The latter in particular created some tense moments during the matches, with robots able to dramatically affect each others’ scores by booby trapping territories.

At the end of the league we announced the details of our fourth and final game module. This substantially changes the arena layout and adds new kinds of territories worth more game points. The towers also received an upgrade meaning they no longer become locked out, but if a robot attempts to claim a territory they already own then it will become unclaimed.

This module of the game requires that the teams robots further increase their awareness of their environment and how they react to it if they want to claim territories and also hold them for the duration of the match

We’re now three quarters of the way through the league matches that will seed the eventual knockout stage, so teams still have everything to play for. The final league session will be in 5 weeks, on the 24th April.

If you would like to catch up on any of the matches so far, our livestreams are available on YouTube:

We look forward to seeing you over the coming months for the culmination of the SR2021 Competition.

Date Competition Stage
24th April 2021 League Session 4
1st May 2021 Knockouts and Final