The VEX Robotics Competition involves the design and construction of goal-oriented robots using the VEX Robotics design system, which must follow strict rules in order to play a sport-inspired game, released at the world championships each year in April/May. In the process of developing these robots, students gain experience using workshop tools, CAD software, autonomous programming, motors, gears, and drive systems, and gain a better understanding of physical concepts such as torque and friction. Teams often have to conduct their own fundraising operations, which means that they develop business and financial management skills as well.
New Zealand VEX competitions are organised by the Kiwibots, which was formed with the support of Massey University to inspire interest in science and technology in NZ schools by introducing the VEX program into New Zealand. Scrimmages are held almost every month where you can see the game in action as high-school teams prepare for regional and national competitions, hoping to qualify for the world champs. A list of these events is available at the Kiwibots website. Our team members act as mentors to high schools, as well as help organise and run smaller scrimmages in between the main Kiwibots events.
However, we also compete against other university teams in the college division, in which we are current World Champions. This differs from the high school competition in many areas, most significantly with a much longer autonomous period (45 seconds instead of 15), and the removal of alliances. The game of the 2017/2018 season, In The Zone, involves stacking cones on goals which can be scored in zones. Bonus points can be achieving higher stacks than the opponent’s. The image to the right shows the field arrangement at the beginning of the match. A full set of rules and other resources can be viewed at the VEX Robotics site.