"We are completely surprised. We didn't expect this!" were the first reactions of the ‘WGM Vikings’ after they received the virtual trophy on Saturday as the overall winner of the FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge (FLL) regional competition. The ROSEN Group in Lingen (Ems) once again hosted the international research and robot competition completely digitally. A total of seven teams from educational institutions in Emsland, Grafschaft Bentheim and Münsterland took part in the event. With the motto ‘Cargo Connect’, this year's competition was all about the future of logistics.
"Our cutting-edge technologies are used around the world and must be transported in the best possible way in accordance with the motto 'Cargo Connect'. In this context, acting sustainable is important for the future and for protecting people and the environment. Renewable energies make it possible to reduce emissions in goods and freight transport. For this purpose, hydrogen is now considered the energy carrier of the future and has been the focus of various business areas of the ROSEN Group for years," explained Patrik Rosen, representative of the owner family, during the welcome speech on the day of the event. "It is our special concern that the young professionals of tomorrow deal with this sustainability and support it with their ideas in the fields of robotics, Artificial Intelligence and software development. We are pleased to once again create an occasion for this with the FLL."
In a preparation period of several months, the teams constructed an autonomous LEGO® robot and worked out a research project on the event motto. To improve the movement of people and goods around the globe, there are many ways and innovations. The teams explored technological advances and global challenges to make the exchange of goods and services faster, more efficient and safer. They presented their results to a jury of ROSEN employees. The jury evaluated the teams in different disciplines: robot design, robot game, research project and core values.
Due to the virtual format, the teams recorded their results via video and sent them to the jury in advance for review. On the competition day, they presented their research projects and LEGO® robots again and answered the jury's questions. In the theoretical part, the teams convinced with individual and innovative ideas. As part of their research project, the team ‘EGN Fire 2.0’ dealt with the delivery of medicines by a drone to enable fast shipping. The ordering and shipping process is controlled with an app and supported by the pharmacies. The ‘WGM Vikings’ examined the traffic and cargo concept of the city of Meppen and developed solution approaches to relieve the traffic volume in the city center. Since the city center is surrounded by many waterways, they proposed to transport the goods and people with autonomous water vehicles with electric motors.
In a second virtual room, the teams received their points and feedback for the recorded Robot Games. In this discipline, the robot had to solve predefined tasks on a special obstacle course with LEGO® models within two and a half minutes. They received points for each task they completed. "For example, the robots had to repair a train track by using a spare rail, load freight containers or switch the lever of an engine to energy-efficient electric mode," explained a ROSEN employee from the jury. The newcomer teams ‘OBS Twist’ and ‘SR1-Siciliano’ in particular impressed the jury with their performance, and earned many points. In addition, the jury evaluated the teams in the category ‘core values’ and observed the team spirit and interaction with each other.
In the afternoon, the most exciting part of the program for the teams took place: the award ceremony. The overall victory was taken by the ‘WGM Vikings’. They will move on to the semi-finals in Aachen. The prizes in the other categories went to ‘OBS Twist’ (Best Robot Game), ‘WGM Devils’ (Best Robot Design), ‘EGN Fire 2.0’ (Best Research), ‘AFR Solver’ (Core Values), Timo Berghoff of the WGM Teams (Best Coaching). The ROSEN Group also awarded two special prizes for extraordinary solution approaches. These went to ‘SR1-Siciliano’ (Can Do) and ’WGM Angels’ (Creativity). The regional competition in Lingen (Ems) is organized together with HANDS on TECHNOLOGY e.V., the official organizer of the FIRST® LEGO® League in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.