Engineering Now .: Volume 3 - Edition 10 .: May 2007

Western WEBots team finishes first in 2007 Autonomous Racing Challenge


WEBots, the Faculty of Engineering’s robotics team, finished first in the 2007 Autonomous Racing Challenge at the University of Waterloo on April 27, 2007.

The Autonomous Racing Challenge is a robotic contest organized annually by the University of Waterloo. The competition involves racing fully autonomous vehicles head-to-head on an outdoor track consisting of a drag race competition, a circuit competition and static judging.

The WEBots club, consisting of various members from Western Engineering, redesigned their 2006 third place autonomous vehicle to compete against six other robots from clubs within Ontario and Quebec.

“The team improved on last year’s working systems, designed new hardware for past trouble components, and developed a new software paradigm,” noted Eugen Porter, WEBots Staff Advisor. “Keeping it simple and working as a team secured WEBots first place win.”

“I was quite proud of all the hard work the team put into the robot and I was glad to see it pay off,” commented Nathan Newport, Club President. “We've already started looking towards next year with ideas for further improvement to our designs.”

Autonomous robots are machines that perform desired tasks in a variety of environments without the need for human guidance or control. Autonomy is particularly desirable where communication delays and interruptions could have detrimental results such as in space exploration or mining. Autonomous devices are becoming common around the home for routine tasks such as vacuuming, mowing lawns, parking cars (Lexus LS 460) and possibly driving cars in the years to come.

The goal of robot racing is to have fun while promoting skill development and research in autonomous robotics technology by providing an environment for comparing the complexity and performance of robotic platforms developed by different design groups.

If you are interested in participation in the robotics group, or if you just want to contribute ideas, send emails to

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.: Allison Stevenson
Spencer Engineering Building, Room 2074
Telephone: (519) 850-2917 Fax: (519) 661-3808