Robofest 2018 world robotics championship coming to Lawrence Tech this weekend

SOUTHFIELD — Metro Detroit is once again the global center of robotics competition this weekend, as 216 teams from across the United States and 11 other countries convene this week at Lawrence Technological University’s Ridler Field House for the 2018 Robofest World Championship.

Lawrence Tech Provost Maria Vaz addresses the competitors at Robofest 2017. LTU photo.

Competitors hail from the U.S., Canada, China, Colombia, France, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Macau, Mexico, and South Africa. All told, more than 600 students and another 200 teachers, coaches, parents and mentors will join in the 19th annual event, which runs May 17-19.

Robofest is a competition to build and program autonomous robots that aren’t remote controlled. There are multiple events created around Robofest, including a conference called WISER (World conference on Integrated STEaM Education through Robotics). Competitions include a game that changes every year, an exhibition category where students can design robots to perform any task, a robotic art exhibition, a computer-vision-based robotic challenge, a robotic “sumo wrestling” competition, and more.

Competition brackets include grades 5-8 and grades 9-12. There’s also a robot drawing contest for younger students in grades K-3.

Unlike other competitions, students have a full freedom of using any robotic kits, parts, and sensors.

Since its founding in 1999, more than 23,000 students have participated in Robofest events all over the world.

“Robofest is an integrated learning environment to provide a talented workforce for the development of connected and autonomous vehicles,” said CJ Chung, Robofest founder and professor of computer science at Lawrence Tech. Chung also leads LTU’s self-driving vehicle project, called ACTor (Autonomous Campus Transport).

Robofest competitions are free and open to the public. Ample free parking is available in nearby lots. For directions, visit www.ltu.edu/map.

For more information, visit www.robofest.net. Detailed schedules and venue information is available at https://www.robofest.net/2018/WC18plan.pdf.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

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