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BSM’s RoboCup team recently returned from the 2023 International RoboCup competition in Bordeaux, France, after achieving the highest competition score in BSM history. As the only high school in the world competing at the international collegiate event, BSM’s RoboCup team outperformed and outscored five college teams, missing the semi-finals by just one placement.
True to years past, the team competed in the RoboCupRescue category, a collegiate-level program dedicated to the development of search and rescue robots. Rather than feeling intimidated by his high-level competitors, BSM RoboCup team member Evan Nowlin ‘23 was inspired by them. “Getting to meet college and graduate-level students doing this competition as a part of their studies allowed the team and I to ask questions and get recommendations as we begin our own paths further into robotics and engineering.”
A total of 16 Red Knights - eight Class of 2023 graduates and eight rising seniors - represented BSM on the RoboCup team. They were accompanied by engineering teachers and RoboCup coaches Charles Nepomuceno and Matt Miller, Ph. D., and learning support specialist Alyssa Hugdahl.
Nepomuceno said, “In the weeks leading up to our trip, the RoboCup team was in the lab nearly every day. I am really proud of the students for putting in the extra mile. It shows that their interests and pursuit of knowledge goes beyond just grades they can get in class.”
While in Bordeaux, the students had opportunities to see the city and even watch the cyclists competing in the 2023 Bordeaux leg of the Tour de France. Nepomuceno explained that being tourists came after the team prepared for the competition with careful assembly and constant adjustments. “Across three days of preliminary testing, the team saw a noticeable improvement in their tests, scoring higher on each consecutive run.”
The competition kept students busy with a whirlwind of activity, including many RoboCup challenges and consequent robot repair and maintenance. Harrison Fortney ‘24 shared that trial and error was a valuable, and unavoidable, part of the process. “In engineering, you learn how to build and create, but more importantly, you learn how to fail; to learn why you failed and how to fix the problem later down the line. That is what prepared us the most.”
Once the competition was officially behind them, the BSM RoboCup team enjoyed a couple of days in Paris to sightsee, embark on guided tours, and enjoy each other's company. The team's final night in France was capped off with a full team dinner and seeing fireworks honoring the French national holiday, Bastille Day.
While participating in the international RoboCup was new for many of the students, and even Nepomuceno, the experience was a great moment of learning for all. “We already know our path to improvement for next year and are already looking forward to competing in the 2024 RoboCup competition in the Netherlands,” Nepomuceno said.
The BSM RoboCup team is grateful to the parents and supporters who made this year’s trip possible. “We are so grateful for this opportunity to learn and experience so much over the last couple of weeks,” said Fortney on behalf of the 2023 RoboCup team.
More About RoboRescue
Disaster rescue is one of the most serious social issues which involves very large numbers of heterogeneous agents in a hostile environment. The intention of the RoboCupRescue project is to promote research and development in this socially significant domain at various levels involving multi-agent team work coordination, physical robotic agents for search and rescue, information infrastructures, personal digital assistants, a standard simulator and decision support systems, evaluation benchmarks for rescue strategies, and robotic systems – all of which are integrated into a comprehensive system looking to the future. Learn more here.