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Royal Assault Succeeds at Florida Regional

In early March, Upper Darby High School's Robotics Team, Team 357, Royal Assault, attended the regional event hosted in Orlando, Florida. There were 52 teams in attendance at this very spirited competition. Because this was the first regional the team had attended this year, and they had never competed at the Florida Regional before, they were unsure of what the competition would hold. However, the event far surpassed expectations, and the team was very satisfied with their performance.

The robot, once again named "The Jester", competed well in this year's game, Aim High. The game involved collecting and shooting foam balls into a high center goal, depositing them into lower side goals, and driving the robot up a steep ramp. During the autonomous period, during which the robot has no human control and operates only on preprogrammed commands, various routines were used from all three starting positions. The robot performed well during the autonomous rounds, scoring points or disrupting opponents' routines. The design of the robot was based mainly on collecting the balls, scoring them into the lower goals and driving up the ramp. Compared to other robots, it was shorter in height and maintained a lower center of gravity. A ball collection system was mounted on the front of the robot to collect balls off the floor. This system fed into the robot, which held balls until it was in a position to score. Dumping balls into the side goals proved to work well with robots that were designed to score in the high goals. The mechanum wheel drive system proved to be maneuverable and demonstrated its strength by being able to push other robots during defensive periods of the game. Minor technical difficulties took place but they were quickly adjusted. The overall design contributed to Royal Assault's impressive record of seven wins to two losses and an average of nearly qualifying 20 points per match. At the end of qualifying matches, the team ranked fifth.

This rank earned the team a spot to select alliance partners for the playoff rounds. Royal Assault chose teams 1523 and 1902, both local to Florida. Forming a strong alliance, the three teams beat the highest seeded alliance and advanced through to the finals. In finals, the alliance lost to the alliance of teams 180, 79 and 1649. This, by no means, was a disappointment for Royal Assault.

Royal Assault received two awards at the Florida Regional, the Finalists award and the Engineering Inspiration Award. Engineering Inspiration is the second most prestigious award given out by FIRST. Royal Assault was awarded this because of the team's dedication to the competition and effectiveness of the community outreach efforts. It was a great honor to receive this award.

Royal Assault will be heading next to the Philadelphia Regional held at Drexel University and the Championship Event held in Atlanta, Georgia, where they hope to continue with their success.

Article by Joe Gro, Lauren Campion
Posted on 2006-03-25