Monday, 29 May 2017

Annual Robot Race

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Annual Robot Race

Robots Race it out in Tshwane

Pretoria, South Africa, 29 May, 2017 - Global industrial and electronics distributor RS Components, are one of the sponsors for the fifth EECE Race Day at the University of Pretoria this year. The Race Day offers third year microcontroller students at the department of electrical, electronic and computer engineering the opportunity to showcase their practical skills and to put theory into practise. 

The event, now in its fifth year, originated at the end of 2012 as the brainchild of Professor Tania Hanekom, who at that stage had already been the lecturer for the third-year Microcontrollers module EMK310 for eight years. The idea was to create a learning environment that would foster an appreciation for the complexities of the design and implementation of a microcontroller-based engineering system.

Engineering students are competitive by nature and the notion of a competition was an appealing approach to capitalise on this characteristic while having fun.  In essence, students design, construct and test an autonomous, line-following robot vehicle, but the snag is that the track consists of a criss-cross pattern of coloured lines. Line-follower robots as presented on the internet invariably follow black on white or white on black lines; therefore, the implication is that students need to develop the system from first principles. 

By levelling the playing field through a number of standardised components (for example, the motors), excellence is encouraged, since students have to use their ingenuity to devise strategies that will give their car an edge over those of their competitors. 

RS Components sponsored Raspberry Pi CanaKits for one of the winning teams at the event as well as various components to upgrade the gantry. Raspberry Pi is a credit-card size computer board that is used to teach computer coding and can be used in robotics and various PC type functions like running a media centre. Mellisa Naidoo, Head of Marketing at RS Components SA, explained that the company has taken a long term view on education and supporting future engineers, hence our support for the TUKS Race Day for the third year running.

“Our aim is to remove the barriers of learning and innovation by providing access to products, tools and resources for engineers and students so that they can experiment, design and create solutions to solve real world challenges.”  

One of the latest solutions from RS is the free-of-charge ‘ToolBox App’ available for use on iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, as well as for Windows-based PCs. The Toolbox App provides an easy access point to an extensive range of functions including popular electronic reference materials and a multitude of calculation and conversion tools in an easy-to-use format for electronics design engineers, hobbyists and students. In addition to the reference tools and calculators, Toolbox offers the latest news on technology from the DesignSpark community, including 3D models of thousands of products. For more information on the Toolbox App and free software downloads go to 


About RS Components

RS Components is the market leader in the high service level distribution of electrical, electronic, mechanical, tools and industrial products. Operating in 26 countries whilst serving a further 100 through third-party distributors, RS serves every sector of industry in the procurement of their products relating to maintenance, repair, operations, low volume production, research and development.  With over 500 000 products across 2500 leading brands, the company is committed to ensuring that their 1,5 million customers have fast access to a broad, as well as deep range, of products and technologies, all under one roof.RS’s customers, whether ordering single or multiple items, experience a quick, easy, secure, painless and cost effective process.  The RS catalogue, available at, offers full colour pictures with extensive clear product specifications.  Free access to thousands of datasheets ensures the correct product choice. Order placement is easily facilitated through, the call centre, e-mail, fax and trade counter. Locally held stock is delivered to customers within 24 hours, and products held internationally, within four to six working days.  

For more information, please visit the website at

Published in Science and Education