Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in ABU Robocon 2011, Bangkok Thailand

A short report of Asia-Pacific ROBOCON in Bangkok, Thailand on 28th August 2011. 

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia represented Malaysia in the 10th Asia-Pacific ROBOCON, which was held in Bangkok on 28th August 2011. This year the theme is “Loy Krathong, Lighting Happiness with Friendship”. The contest requires students to construct a manual and two automatic robots to compete to build a flower called Loy Krathong within 3 minutes.

This year, 19 teams from 18 countries participated in this contest including Japan, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Fiji, Turkey, Laos, Brunei, Nepal, India, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Mongolia. Thailand as host country sent two teams (Thailand 1 and Thailand 2). UTM, as national champion, represented Malaysia in this competition. Twenty undergraduates from Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Faculty of Mechanical Engineering were sent to this competition in Bangkok, led by instructor Dr Yeong Che Fai. The registered operators were Lim Thol Yong (1SEM), Liew Kiong Bui (1SEM) and Yuvarajoo a/l Subramaniam (2SEL). The head of project is Associate Prof. Dr. Zaharuddin bin Mohamed. All representative teams were initially divided into 7 groups for round robin competition, and the winner of each group will qualify for quarter final. We were cast into a two-team group, meeting only Thailand 2 and therefore, having to compete twice with the same team. 


Before the competition, all countries were given test run on the actual game field for 10 minutes. UTM robots encountered some problems and did not perform to the fullest potential due to circumstantial causes, e.g. lighting condition, as faced by other teams as well. Although we managed to get Loy Krathong in 53 seconds during training in Malaysia, we lost to Thailand 2 as some of UTM robots did not manage to function as expected during the match. In the first match, Thailand 2 managed to get Loy Krathong in 1.11mins but did not achieve Loy Krathong in the second match. They won the second match by a score of 242 and eventually marched on to win 2nd place in ROBOCON. The other Thailand team (Thailand 1) is the champion of this year ROBOCON.


It is indeed unfortunate and sad that UTM robots did not perform as expected in the competition. However, for the UTM student representatives who are mostly from 1st Year, this experience was truly an eye-opener. After all, competition is not always about winning or losing, but what we gained in the process. They forged friendships and gained invaluable technical knowledge from the ‘Friendship Exchange Programme’ where every quarter finalist team described how they designed and constructed their robot. At the end of the competition, the champion team (Thailand 1) even arranged an impromptu visit to their university just for our team, where we were given exclusive preview to their workplace and training ground. We saw how their game field were surrounded by tents, where the students lived and breathed robots in order to win the competition. Our students, too, lived in such condition for the past year, minus the tents. ROBOCON 2012 is going to be held in Hong Kong and the UTM team will strive to perform much better next year.

* Full results can be found here: http://aburobocon2011.com/index.php?option=com_ content&view=article&id=93&Itemid=90&lang=en

* Next year ROBOCON 2012 rules : http://aburobocon2012.hk/