Vaughn’s robotics team showcased their outstanding skills last week to finish second in the VEX U Robotics World Championship out of sixty participants in Anaheim, Ca. This was the first time a United States team made it to the finals. Vaughn improved their performance dramatically from last year where they finished in 36th place.

Jefferson Maldonado, the club’s president said they learned a lot from participating in the 2013 world competition and developed strategy to be better prepared for 2014. “We started building and programming the robots earlier this year and used the smaller VEX U competitions in the fall and spring as practice competitions to fine tune our robots and the programs.”

Sixty national and international universities and colleges participated in the 2014 VEX U Robotics World Championship from Thursday, April 24 through Saturday, April 26. Twenty-eight participant teams came from the United States, and 32 international teams included universities and colleges from Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, Canada, Colombia, China and Saudi Arabia.

The competition consisted of two parts, each one-minute long. The first was an autonomous section where the robots were programmed to keep the other team from scoring while scoring themselves. The second part was driver focused where the robots were remote-controlled and worked together to score the most points possible.

Each participating team had a total of 10 matches, with three matches on Thursday, five matches on Friday and two matches on Saturday. Vaughn’s Robotics team won all of its 10 matches and remained undefeated during the pre-qualification competition that took place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

“We beat so many teams this year because of the strategy we employed,” said Maldonado.  “We reviewed each team’s performance daily and spent time in the evening reprograming routines that would be effective against each upcoming opponent.”

During the quarterfinal match, VCAT defeated UTEZ2 (Universidad Tecnologica Emiliano Zapata, Mexico) and moved to the semifinals against OYES Robotics, New Zealand. In this match, VCAT defeated OYES by wining two out of three matches. Finally, VCAT moved into the final match of VEX U against THH1, a team that Vaughn had beaten during a prequalifying match. The final match that was played in the dome of the Anaheim Convention Center, was an intense match where one of the VCAT robots was stopped by the field frame during the autonomous mode, and VCAT ultimately lost the match to THH1 (VCAT 45 and THH1 52).

“I’m so proud of the team and all the hard work they put in to prepare for this competition,” said Dr. Hossein Rahemi, engineering and technology department chair. “Jefferson is a true leader. He organized his team very efficiently, and provided motivation and support along the way.  I’ve never seen such leadership and commitment before.”

VCAT received the second place award for the VEX U world championship competition, the best VEX U US team, and the VEX U Amaze Award. In addition, the Vaughn College Robotics team received the 2014 VEX U World Finalist Medal and 2014 VEX U Amaze Award Medal.

The robotics members who participated in the competition were Jefferson Maldonado ’16 Robot A driver, Kent Ogisu ’16 Robot A coach, Alex Uquillas ’17 Robot B driver, Terry Cetoute ’16 Robot B coach, and team scouts, Saneela Rabbani ’17, Wasif Iqbal ’17, Josiah D’Arrigo ‘17 and Waseem Hussain ’18. The club’s adviser, Dr. Shouling He, associate professor in the engineering and technology department was present to support the students at the competition along with her colleagues Khalid Mouaouya, associate professor and Dr. Rahemi.