The 22nd French Robotics Cup will be held from 13 to 16 May 2015 at La Ferté Bernard (72). Among the teams taking part in this scientific and technical challenge is the Evolutek team, the association of robotics enthusiasts that brings together students from EPITA, IPSA and Epitech.
With more than 1500 participants, the French Robotics Cup is the largest gathering for engineering students in Europe. For this year's event, some 200 teams will meet to work on the original theme of Robomovies.
During each 90-second match held on a special game board, two robots created (and programmed) for the event must complete a certain number of autonomous actions in order to win as many points as possible and to get rid of their opponent: signal the start of filming by closing a clapperboard, light the film set by arranging spotlights, pick up and bring popcorn to spectators, go to the awards ceremony by going up the stairs and welcome the stars by unrolling the red carpet. Well prepared for this event, Evolutek's members hope to shine. While they will not be winning any real Oscars, they will strive to win the coveted trophy and possibly take part in Eurobot, the European final of robotics cups which will be held in Yverdon-les-Bains in Switzerland from 22 to 24 May 2015. A few days before travelling to La Ferté Bernard to start these robotic battles, Daniel Shaghoolian (IPSA class of 2019) and Corentin Vigourt (EPITA class of 2019) spoke to us about their preparation.
How is Evolutek doing with the preparation for this French Cup?
Corentin: This year, many of the association's important members left Evolutek due to work commitments. This has somewhat slowed our progress but we are catching up and are currently in the test phase for our robots.
Daniel: I would add that twelve of us are going to the competition, out of the twenty or so members in the association.
This year, the competition's theme is Robomovies and there are new actions to be completed. What do you think about this theme?
Daniel: In previous years, there were lots of random elements to manage but this isn't the case with this theme. This means that it is much easier to program the robot's intelligence and the heats don't seem that difficult. The main challenge is to complete the tests in the allotted time.
Corentin: However, this year's event requires an assignment that has never been asked before. The robots have to go upstairs. This has enabled us to do something different compared to the last competitions where, often, the competition was basically a robot picking objects up and putting them down in the right place.
How did you share out the work among students?
Corentin: At Evolutek, we prepare two robots. First of all, we have a main robot, which is more complex. EPITA's students dealt with the mechanical parts and programming of this robot. The other robot is developed by more recent members of the association, in particular first-year students. I was the person in charge of this robot overall - for its programming in particular - and Daniel was in charge of the mechanics.
Daniel: The mechanical aspect concerns all the structures and production of material and machining. While there are two robots, there is only one Evolutek team. This means that if someone needs help, any member can give them a hand.
Corentin: Within the association, the older students are there to teach the new ones and the new ones can choose what they want to do. It's quite open like that.
Why did you want to create two robots this year?
Corentin: Both our robots are going to take part in the heats at the same time and on the same board. This decision was made based on what the Cup organisers noted three years ago: as the objectives are almost always the same during the tests, some teams didn't change their robot and only reprogrammed it slightly. The organisers therefore decided to authorise the presence of a second robot in the gaming area to add more difficulty: this second robot must be able to interact with its team mate.
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