Unibots team

LSBU Engineering students come 3rd in UK robotics competition

17 April 2023

A team of LSBU School of Engineering undergraduate, MSc and PHD students Jerome Graves, May Metwaly, David Cheadle, Alex Sava and Brain Manco Arango, came 3rd in the Unibots UK competition at the University of Cambridge.

Unibots UK is an inter-university robotics competition where teams build autonomous robots to accomplish the competition task. Twelve robot teams from five universities took part including Cambridge, De Montfort and Kings College London - this year they had to build a small robot that could pick up tennis and ping pong balls scattered around a field.

The robots went head-to-head in each match, with universities going head-to-head in matches of four robots facing off, then two in the semi-finals and two in the finals. The LSBU team’s robot used computer vision with a camera, ultrasonic sensors and a mechanical gate that opened and closed to collect the balls.

After each round, the LSBU student team roles included inspecting the robot to make sure the components and circuitry were intact and fixing bugs in the robot’s code. The LSBU team did brilliantly to reach the semi-finals and third place in the competition, but narrowly lost out at a chance to make the final.

Jerome Graves runs the LSBU Robotics Society and took a managerial role in the team, helping other students learn about robotics, fixing things people were struggling with and ensuring everyone could contribute to the design and building. He said, “It was a very proud moment for me. Everyone worked hard to make the robot, and I was happy to see that hard work pay off. It was a very fun day out. Everyone was extremely kind, and there were some fantastic robot designs. We are all looking forward to next year's competition”.

LSBU teammate David Cheadle said, “It was really interesting to see how the other teams had approached the challenge, and it was great that we achieved third place and left the event with a trophy. We put a lot of effort into building the robot and getting it ready for the competition, and it was brilliant that the effort paid off”.

Another LSBU teammate, Alex Sava said, “I’m glad I had the chance to participate”, noting his pride at the juries ranking LSBU as “one of the best teams”. He also said, “We were happy to reach third place, beyond our expectations”.

The team plan to compete in next year’s competition, improving their robot based on their experience of the competition this year.

Students and staff from the LSBU School of Engineering won eight awards and were shortlisted for five others in the past year, including: