College students, including many FIRST alumni (www.usfirst.org), have for years volunteered at events and as mentors for the various FIRST programs around the world. At the 2010 World Championship the demand for a college-level FIRST program reached critical mass as Dean Kamen, along with other enthusiastic FIRST supporters, pitched the idea of a collegiate robotics competition to many of the college-affiliated volunteers. The proposed demonstration would offer the social and STEM benefits of FIRST to college undergraduate and graduate students. Since that presentation, the Collegiate Aerial Robotics Demonstration Planning Committee worked to design an event to capture the spirit of FIRST at the college level. After much discussion with FIRST alumni around the world, we have developed a demonstration that captures these many facets, setting it apart from other collegiate programs.
The demonstration season culminated at the 2011 FIRST World Championship with ten teams from around the United States. The event was a tremendous success and continues to move forward, building on a wide variety of feedback to continue pushing the boundaries of STEM education and shaping our culture. We have quickly outgrown the confines of the FIRST World Championship and carry no official affiliation with FIRST, although our community is comprised of many alumni and actively involved in supporting FIRST and similar programs.
If you have any questions about the program and how to get involved please feel free to explore this website or contact us.
To learn more about the Collegiate Aerial Robotics Demonstration, you may download the complete overview of the college-level program and game for the 2012 season. These document include information on the tentative event schedules, travel arrangements, game rules, and more.
This program will to combine principles adopted from our many years of experience with FIRST into a college-level robotics challenge that will support other programs, inspire students of all ages, and serve to extend these values to emerging engineers and scientists in a way that existing college level programs cannot. In this context, we strive to push the boundaries of robotics through a combination of air and ground-based platforms in a dynamic, cooperative environment.
Through this demonstration, 10 college-level teams attended the 2011 FIRST Championship event in St. Louis, April 27-30. Each team designed and built an aerial vehicle (AV) and a ground vehicle (GV). The participating teams brought diverse experiences and many had a short build time before the Championship.
Building from this experience, it is our goal to continue to expand the program and provide these opportunities to a wide range of aspiring college students. The 2011 demonstration provided a form during which we tested many aspects of the program, including several novel concepts new to the FIRST environment. We will continue to incorporate novel concepts and aspects of the event which extend beyond the competing robots, including a Collegiate Conference, paper submissions, and career education and networking opportunities.