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Land speed record inspires robot challenge

Students at Banbury and Bicester College have been taking on a robot challenge inspired by the next world land speed record attempt.

The Level 3 IT students put their coding skills to the test for the event, run by the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car (SCC) education team.

During the course of a day, they worked in teams to programme a VEX robot around a course and use its grab hands to remove a rocket from the rear of a model car.

The exercise was designed to simulate a real-life scenario which the Bloodhound team will face during their world record attempt in the South African desert.

Student Jamie Nicol, aged 19, said: “We have done this sort of scratch coding before, but it is good to apply it to a practical project. It gives you a better understanding of how much programming goes into projects and the problem solving involved. Things don’t just work straight away, you have to keep going back and refining the code and testing the impact on what you want the robot to do.”

Bloodhound SSC is a high-technology UK project to design and build a car that will break the 1,000mph barrier. The UK runway trials are planned for later in 2016, with the first 800mph record attempt set to take place in the South African desert the following year.

Gerry Heather from the Bloodhound education team, said: “One of the key objectives of the Bloodhound project is to inspire the next generation about science, technology, engineering and maths. Projects such as this help students to understand the importance of coding and the role that robots can play in real life scenarios.

“Working with Level 3 college students is important, as these young people will soon be coming into the industry. Robotics, telemetry and programming is so important to the future of the IT and communications industry and we hope to show young people how these skills are applicable to a range of roles.”

The Bloodhound education team has previously run roadshows for local schools from the Banbury and Bicester campuses of Banbury and Bicester College. 

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