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Autonomous robots are set to take over Sydney! Relax, it’s just the region’s biggest robotics showdown coming to town


It’s the region’s biggest robotics showdown – two dozen autonomous robots designed by engineering students from across Australia and New Zealand will compete for robot supremacy in the National Instruments Autonomous Robotics Competition (NIARC).

For the first time, the competition will also welcome a team from one of Singapore’s top universities, the Nanyang Technological University, competing for the championship.

The live finals will take place Tuesday, 5 September 2017 at the University of Technology, Sydney in front of hundreds of spectators and a panel of industry judges.

With a theme of “Transportation Innovation”, this year’s event, which is free to attend for all, will see the robots navigate a ‘smart city’, following road rules, adjusting speed in line with school zones and highways, picking up ‘passengers’ and returning home safely. Each robot’s objective is to earn the most amount of points by completing the required tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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What exactly is NIARC out to achieve?

NIARC is a student competition designed to encourage development and innovation in the field of robotics. Over the last six months, the participants, ranging from first year university students to PhD candidates, have had access to industry-leading hardware and software by NI to design and program intelligent vehicles.

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“Today’s vehicles are supercomputers on wheels but there are still so many exciting innovations to come. Car manufacturers are racing to bring autonomous vehicles to market and the technology has the potential to change everything about the way we move people and goods. That’s why we are so excited to be able to offer students the opportunity to be a part of that change,” said Chandran Nair, Vice President for Asia-Pacific, National Instruments.

Chandran Nair
Chandran Nair

“The industry will face increasingly complex systems and demands for improved speed, productivity and efficiency. By enabling the students to work with industry-leading hardware and software, we can help provide them with the real-world skills needed to become tomorrow’s top engineers,” added Mr Nair.

Now in its seventh year, NIARC has grown from just 11 teams to more than two dozen, all from leading Australian and New Zealand universities. Previous winners include, University of Wollongong (2016), University of South Australia (2015), University of New South Wales (2014) and more.

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Participating universities for 2017 include: University of Auckland (NZ), Curtin University (WA), Edith Cowan University (WA), Flinders University (VIC), Macquarie University (NSW), Massey University (NZ), University of Melbourne (VIC), Nanyang Technological Institute (Singapore), University of New South Wales (NSW), University of Tasmania (TAS), University of Technology Sydney (NSW), University of Queensland (QLD), RMIT University (VIC), Swinburne University of Technology (VIC), University of Waikato (NZ), Western Sydney University (NSW), University of Wollongong (NSW) and Victoria University of Wellington (NZ).

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