TUKS campus taken over by robots!

July 2022 News

Several teams of third-year engineering students took to the track for the ultimate robot showdown as the highly anticipated annual TUKS Robot Race Day took place at the campus recently. Now in its ninth year, the event – which is coordinated by the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology – has grown in leaps and bounds, with more students getting involved and showcasing their innovation, programming and engineering skills. This year more than fifty teams registered to compete for the title.

One of the many teams with their robot ready to take on the track.

Professor Tania Hanekom, function head for undergraduate studies at the University of Pretoria, said that providing world-class education to its students is what the institution strive for across all departments, and the Robot Race Day is just one of the ways education is enhanced. “Our annual Robot Race Day provides a platform to stimulate curiosity and creativity, which is crucial for the innovation and entrepreneurship that a career in engineering demands. The project guides aspiring engineers through a carefully planned process to develop a fundamental set of engineering skills, which include hardware and software design, systems integration, the ability to work and function in a team, time management, perseverance and the good old indispensable ‘engineering gut feeling’ which comes only with experience in the execution of engineering projects,” she said.

The TUKS Robot Race Day offers students the opportunity to put theory into practice. Students are required to build autonomous robotic vehicles with a sensor system able to detect specific colours on the multi-coloured track, and is developed as part of their analog electronics module. The Race Day also gives them a platform to work as a team and to demonstrate innovation and technical skills in developing these robots.

Wesley Hood from RS Components SA and Professor Tania Hanekom from TUKS.

Professor Hanekom also added that the educational objectives of the Robot Race Day were strongly supported by the university’s partnerships with industry, which provide the necessary resources to maintain this flagship event. “On behalf of the students and the engineering faculty, I would like to thank RS Components South Africa for assisting us with the various components, batteries and support over the years. We look forward to future engagements with RS,” she added.

The 2022 Robot Race Day winners – Natalie Hanekom, Brendon De Beer and Karl Etsebeth – were elated after their robot beat the others to claim the win. Wesley Hood, education specialist for RS Components SA, said that nurturing the next generation of engineers was at the top of RS’s agenda. “RS Components’ continued involvement in this project is in line with the company’s policy of supporting both professional and future engineers by giving them access to the components, tools and resources that they require to excel in their endeavours.

Wesley Hood with this year's winners, Karl Etsebeth, Natalie Hanekom and Brendon De Beer.

“This is echoed in our DesignSpark platform, which is a free online community for engineers, inventors and tech enthusiasts from around the world, offering free CAD software and other technical resources to help bring ideas to life. With more than 1,2 million members, this community can be of assistance to students and engineers working on real-world applications. I encourage anyone interested in engineering and inventing to register and be a part of this global community,” he said.

View a brief video of the day here:


Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Danfoss strengthens presence in Africa
Danish multinational engineering group, Danfoss has finalised its acquisition of BOCK. The completion of the acquisition reinforces Danfoss’ position as a preferred provider of energy-efficient compressor solutions.

Zinc paves the way for South Africa’s sustainable development
Africa continues to be supported by the International Zinc Association.

Elevating safety in quarrying and surface mining
The continued focus on integrating proximity detection systems into South African quarries and surface mines highlights a significant shift towards enhanced safety and regulatory compliance.

RS South Africa showcases mining products at MTE
RS South Africa recently exhibited at Mining and Technical Exhibitions (MTE) in Limpopo.

SKF and EPWR gear up for sustainable racing season
SKF South Africa News
The Scandinavian Touring Car Championship season marks the world’s first 100% electric national touring car championship with the EPWR concept, reflecting a significant step towards sustainable motorsport. SKF is partnering with EPWR start featuring new electric cars.

Moore Process Controls is moving ahead
Moore Process Controls News
Moore Process Controls was established in South Africa in 1985, migrating from a local agent for Moore Products in the USA to a multi-faceted company with a wide range of automation and optimisation capabilities.

From the editor's desk: Never again
Technews Publishing (SA Instrumentation & Control) News
The recent building collapse in George shook me as it was just down the road. I experienced first hand the impact that it had on people’s lives, and the devastation caused by the loss of loved ones, ...

Reflecting 30 years of growth
WEG Africa News
Starting out in 1994 to serve the metropolitan area with a range of low-voltage electric motors, WEG Africa’s Cape Town branch has grown. Testament to this is the fact that it has again outgrown its premises, and last year relocated to larger, well-equipped facilities in Richmond Business Park.

Steinmüller Africa showcases plant lifecycle maintenance and power generation at Enlit Africa
Steinmüller Africa, a proud Silver Sponsor Partner of Enlit Africa 2024, recently attended the event at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The company presented its comprehensive range of solutions for high-pressure heaters for energy generation plants, including design, drawing, fabrication, commissioning, plant erection, and maintenance.

Rich rewards result from investing in WearCheck’s training
Wearcheck News
A priority for condition monitoring specialist, WearCheck, is to ensure that customers whose maintenance staff undergo technical skills training earn significant returns from their investment into the training. Maintenance crew members can choose from more than 15 courses that are conducted by WearCheck’s experts in various categories of condition monitoring.