Meet UWS's new robot

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In September, students from the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics competed in the National Instruments Autonomous Robotics competition, held on Thursday 25 September. Gu Fang, Senior Lecturer in Robotics, supervised the team led by Craig Borrows, a UWS fourth-year robotic and mechatronic engineering student.

This year's competition, which includes students from universities throughout Australia and New Zealand, focused on agriculture, which is a key growth industry for robotics applications. The theme was "Go, Sow, Grow!" and robots needed to wirelessly communicate and were required to collect seeds, navigate to a farming area with random obstacles, deposit the collected seeds in designated planting areas then navigate back to the home zone.

This year, the team made it through to the quarter-finals. They came first in their group out of four teams and went on to beat Griffith University in round 16 to enter the quarter final, where they were narrowly defeated by Sydney University.

The competition is designed to help prepare students for the workplace by teaching them valuable hands-on and project-focused skills. 

Each team was provided with a development kit, including hardware and software, valued at $20,000. While cash prizes are awarded to first, second and third place, each team that successfully completed competition tasks got to keep their development kit – the UWS team was successful.

"This competition is a good opportunity for students to put the knowledge learnt from the classroom into reality and to expand on their knowledge," says Gu Fang. "Students have gained experience in cooperation and teamwork. It's also an excellent avenue to showcase the ability of UWS students who have shown great enthusiasm, creativity and skill in design, production and programming the robot."

You can watch a video of the UWS robot in action here: