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University of Auckland student? JOIN OUR TEAM! 

We are a group of students from the University of Auckland, aiming to compete at the highest level in a number of robotics related areas, while supporting robotics in our community.

We compete in the University Division of the VEX Robotics Competition. In 2017 we competed in the VEX Robotics World Championship, where we became World Champions, adding to our awards from 2015 (Excellence Award, Robot Skills Champion, Programming Skills Champion). We also won the Community Award for our division, highlighting our volunteering and mentoring efforts back home in Auckland. We are part of the Kiwibots contingent of New Zealand high school and university teams. An international competition with participants from 40 countries including China, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Egypt, the UK, Australia and the US, the VEX Robotics Competition tests our understanding and ability to practically implement engineering concepts through a sports-inspired game.

More recently, AURA has become more and more involved with combat robotics. We applied to participate in the 2016 season of Battlebots, but were declined at the final stage of selections. Not to be discouraged, in August two members from AURA traveled to Canberra, Australia, where they were crowned RoboWars National Champions (and runner-up too!) after demolishing the competition. Following from the success in the 1.36 kg class in Australia, two of our members traveled to Guangzhou, China in August 2017 to fight their 15 kg robot “Dreamcrusher” against the best from across the World. After battling their way to the Grand Finals, they finished second place. AURA have also created the Mini Robot Rumble competition, with the first event in July 2017, where New Zealand school students fought 1.36 kg robots in a custom made arena.

In 2017 we sent a team to Queensland, Australia to race their fully autonomous, computer vision controlled droid. Our first time competing in such an event, the team improved throughout the event and we look forward to encouraging our club to be involved in future years to come.

We have also competed in the National Instruments Autonomous Robotics Competition (NI-ARC). A team of students representing the University travelled to Australia in September 2013. Featuring the use of the CompactRIO, NI-ARC requires robots to navigate a maze and complete a task fully autonomously.

In addition, we compete in New Zealand’s Robot Soccer competition, winning the competition in 2015 and reaching the semi-finals in 2016.

We compete in the RoboNZ competition, as a platform for our members to develop and trial new sensors, processors, and algorithms.

We mentor high school robotics teams and volunteer at local competitions. We mentor several high school robotics teams in the VEX Robotics Competition, and help run the monthly scrimmages and national championships. Additionally we volunteer at FIRST Lego League (FLL) competitions in the Auckland region.

For all enquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

2018 Mini Robot Rumble (7/25/2018)

Following the success of last year’s launch of Mini Robot Rumble, this July saw the second main Mini Robot Rumble event, hosted in the Vodafone building at Smales Farm, Takapuna.

An enormous amount of preparation works went into this event, with the arena getting many upgrades. In addition to an upgraded pit, saw and flipper arena hazards have been installed. These keep teams on their toes a bit more, mindful that the combat competition just got a whole lot more destructive!

Our special thanks go to Vodafone for their continued support of this awesome event. We’d also like to thank SMC Pneumatics for helping us with the equipment we needed to bring new hazards to the arena, and Fingertech Robotics and Vodafone for sponsoring well over a thousand dollars worth of prizes in total.

Winners from the event are:

1st Place: Southern Warrior
2nd Place: Doorstop
3rd Place: Bender
Most Destructive Robot: Trust me I’m Engineered
Most Destroyed Robot: UTU
Best Dressed: RGB 2.0

Congratulations to all of these teams, and we look forward to our next event! We are planning to hold both a normal Mini Robot Rumble event and also an open division in mid-December. Details will be released once finalised.

More information about Mini Robot Rumble can be found here.

2018 New Zealand VEX Robotics National Championship (3/3/2018)

Every year towards the end of February, the VEX Robotics season in New Zealand wraps up with the National Championship. For the 2017-2018 season “In The Zone”, teams from across New Zealand traveled to Auckland to compete in the event, hosted at Pinehurst School.

Teams have spent the last 10 months refining machines able to collect small cones and build towers over a metre tall, on moveable bases. The robots have to be able to control themselves autonomously for the first fifteen seconds of the game, with the remainder of the two-minute games being remote control. Robots compete in two alliances, each consisting of two teams, so teamwork and strategy are critical elements of the game.

AURA provided the bulk of the volunteer force once again, for the three day event. Some of our members were involved months in advance with the planning of the event, and the general logistics. On the competition days, AURA personal were involved with the management of the event, as well as refereeing matches, ensuring teams were ready on time, scoring and resetting matches, and commentating.

We congratulate all teams on their progress throughout the season. Teams who won awards and qualify for the World Championships in April are:

Excellence Award:
2921S, Free Range Robotics

Tournament Champions:
2921S, Free Range Robotics
2941A, Otumoetai College
2900G, Onehunga High School

Tournament Finalists:
7682E, Wingus & Dingus
7682S, Wingus & Dingus
2900B, Onehunga High School

We wish these teams all the best of luck when they compete in Louisville, Kentucky in just a couple of months.

Some of our volunteers also won awards at this year’s National Championships. Nathan Allen, widely known as the developer behind VexDB, was awarded the Service Award. George Gillard, current Chairperson, was awarded both the Mentor of the Year and Volunteer of the Year awards.

AURA looks forward to an exciting 2018-2019 VEX season, with the next game unveiled at the World Championships in April. Unfortunately, AURA will not be competing at this year’s World Championships, largely due to the dates conflicting with university schedules.

2017 Asia Pacific Robotics Championship (12/12/2017)

New Zealand was fortunate enough to host the 2017 Asia Pacific Robotics Championship. This is a huge event featuring the VEX Robotics Competition (both High School and Middle School), the VEX IQ Challenge (both Middle School and Elementary School), BDS Challenge, and Humanoid Challenge. Hundreds of teams from across the Asia Pacific region descended on Rotorua to participate.

AURA provided a large portion of the required volunteer force. Referees for the VEX Robotics Competition were entirely from AURA, a challenging task with some of the hardest calls and decisions ever made on New Zealand shores. AURA personal also assisted with other areas of the competition, from scoring matches to event management and everything in between.

Helping with such a large event was an incredible experience for all involved. Away from the competition, AURA members mingled with other volunteers and had a fantastic time relaxing and making friends. Supporting high school teams and hosting events is one of the associations core goals as a club, so AURA was eager to assist with the operation of the Asia Pacific Championship, and looks forward to other similar events.

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