This qualifier was an exciting although stressful part of the season. We arrived group by group to the competition, and by 8:00AM everyone had made it to American Leadership Academy. We set up our pit display, went through the notebook one last time before submitting it, and added final touches to the robot before heading over to our judging session. The judges were kind and friendly, and their encouragement made it possible for us to run through our pieces smoothly. Shortly after the judging session, the whole team held our breaths when the servo on the arm broke off less than an hour before matches began during a practice run. Thanks to our amazing builders, however, we were ready for action by the time the coach and drivers went to queue up for our first match. The matches went well as Collin added changes to the code throughout the day, preparing Neil Strong Arm for action as our performance gradually improved. The builders were kept busy all day with modifications commissioned by Collin. Jinia, Jareen, Nadra, and Baya took notes during the matches, scouting the best teams and noting the most unique or efficient robot designs. During the matches, Farrsh spoke with parents, students, and judges at the pit, inviting them to view our displays, Promobot, and cultural foods. When qualifying matches were over, we were picked as Prestige #14999’s second team in our three-team alliance, and won the semifinals, going on to compete in the finals against #4216 Rise of Hephaestus’ alliance. Our alliance partners lost the first final match, and we closed in on the second match only 4 points behind Rise, earning the position as finalist alliance partners. In the end, our hard work paid off in the form of 1st place Inspire Award, 3rd place Innovate Award, and finalist alliance partner. Overall, this qualifier served as good practice for how we hope to perform at the state tournament next month.
The Paragon Panthers Promobot is on the road again. This time we introduced FIRST to FABU America, a startup located in Tempe, Arizona; our coach joined this company recently. Two other employees know the FIRST Inspires program due to their kids participating in FLL and FRC. FABU is creating a new SoC for object detection for self driving cars to support autonomous driving. Everybody like driving the promobot and have various questions about the bot including material cost and build time. The employees liked the sturdiness and were impressed by the construction quality of this robot. The upgraded wheels are doing very well on solid surface but struggle on carpet especially with turning.