An Irvine, Calif.-based robotics team comprised of all Indian American kids has advanced past the FIRST Tech Challenge super regional tournament and will participate in the competition’s world championships later this month.
The Charging Champions Team 8660 robotics team was founded in 2014 through community funding and, in just two years, has excelled in the worldwide robotics competition. Originally comprised of six youngsters — Anish Neervannan, Arjun Neervannan, Ganesh Kolli, Ashwin Tripathi, Anish Joshi and Rithwik Gupta, along with mentors Raj Neervannan and Raja Kolli with STEM backgrounds — the team added Rithik Ligineni, Rushil Gupta, Nandita Joshi, Noopur Siroya and Pallavi Kolli this year.
Back in 2014, Charging Champions fell short in the super regional, but this year’s team made it past that hurdle, advancing to the world championships in St. Louis, Mo.
Charging Champions is a group of students who build robots. It was established to inspire Indian American kids to participate in competitions such as the FIRST Tech Challenge, the organization told India-West in an email.
The team is comprised of kids who have grown up together in elementary and middle schools, it added.
“Through FTC, team members learned hard and soft skills, including hardware and mechanical design, software, system integration, manufacturing, CAD design, marketing and branding, community service, communication and leadership skills and collaboration skills,” the organization said.
In this year’s FTC competition, teams are required to build a robot to perform several tasks, including hitting small levers, climbing up steep ramps and completing a full pull-up bar.
Charging Champions claims its robot can perform a majority of the necessary tasks, which has earned it high scores.
“We built this robot from scratch in our garage through our hard work and ingenuity,” the organization wrote. “It has performed well in every competition, making it to the semifinal round each competition.”
FTC is designed for students in grades 7-12 to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. Less than 1 percent of all robotics teams participating in FTC competitions throughout the world make it to the world championships.
“Our team has worked very hard to reach this point,” it said. “So this is a huge success for us.”
The FTC world championships are scheduled to take place from April 26 through April 30.