Trident Robotics Takes On Worlds!


Anushka Agashe, Staff Writer

As the year comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the successes and failures of the past school year. For Trident Robotics, this has perhaps been their most successful year yet! To cap off an already impressive season, the team recently traveled to Detroit to participate in the FIRST World Championship for the first time in five years.

If you’ve read my article on the Seven Rivers Regional then you know that Trident was on the winning alliance and therefore qualified for the World Championship. This victory took place during the first week of April, leaving less than three weeks for the team to prepare for Worlds. During that time, students and mentors alike worked to fix any broken pieces on the robot, whether it was a busted claw or cut wires. If they weren’t fixing the robot, it was equally important to make spares for the damage that the team knew would be inevitable. Even though the season had been extended longer than expected, each meeting saw students continuing to work to create the best robot possible.

After an intense two and a half weeks, the team was ready to make the trip up to Detroit, Michigan. Shortly after school on April 22, the team, including mentors, luggage, and lots of snacks, headed out to the coach bus hired specially for this event. Though the robot had left earlier in the day without much sendoff, Warren’s Black Student Union came out to see the team to the bus in a gesture of interclub courtesy. Once the team left Warren, though, it was six hours of monotonous Midwestern landscape. At around 11 that night, the team finally reached their hotel in Detroit, ready for four days of competition and discovery.

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Each day at worlds started similarly – early mornings, rushed breakfasts, and a half an hour ride to the Cobo Center. The Cobo Center, where the majority of the event was held, was huge and constantly bustling with activity. Over 43,000 students, mentors, and families flowed through the center over four days. However, the crowds were usually centered in one place: the stands. The approximately 400 teams were divided among six different subdivisions, with Trident Robotics competing in the Curie subdivision.

Before getting into the details of Trident’s play in the qualifying matches, it’s important to know how the game itself works. In general, teams play with two other teams to form an alliance and complete the objective of the game. This year, the name of the game was “Destination: Deep Space” and took place on the fictional planet Primus. There, each of the robots had to place cargo balls into the central cargo ship, as well as the multi-leveled rocket ships. To ensure that these cargo balls didn’t fall out, the teams also had to attach hatch panels to the rockets and cargo ship. By completely filling a rocket ship with both hatches and cargo, the alliances won a “ranking point” to boost their place in the rankings. Ranking points (as well as regular points) could also be earned by climbing the Hab (a multi-leveled platform at each end of the playing field). During the competition, teams ranged from being able to complete entire rocket ships by themselves to double climbing on the third level of the Hab to barely being able to move.


Regardless of the talents of other teams, Trident had a wholly unique experience. The team played in thirteen qualification matches over two days. Though the team had a 5 to 8 win/lose ratio, the drivers played a skilled defense that successfully hindered the opposing alliances. In fact, the defense was so strong that Trident was chosen by the first-seeded Curie alliance to play alongside Team 1114 Simbotics, Team 2056 OP Robotics, and Team 107 Team R.O.B.O.T.I.C.S. Image result for 4296 robotics worlds

Together, this alliance easily won their quarterfinal matches and progressed onto semifinals. Unfortunately, after a tiebreaker match as a result of two very close games, the fourth-seeded alliance beat the first alliance in an upset victory. Though this loss was disappointing to everyone on the alliance, it did have one positive: in the history of the team, Trident Robotics has never gotten farther in competition. Even if it was the end of the season for Trident Robotics, those semifinal matches made history for the team.

Even though Trident was disqualified about halfway through matches on Saturday, the remaining alliances continued on. The fourth-seeded alliance won the finals for the Curie subdivision, and continued on to play against the winners from the other divisions in a round-robin style bracket. At the end of several tense matches, the two finalists emerged: the winning alliances from the Archimedes and Darwin fields. However, before these teams could face off on the Einstein field, the whole event transferred over to the home of the Detroit Lions, Ford Field. There, the founder of FIRST himself, Dean Kamen, spoke to the teams sitting in the stands. Also, various awards were handed out, before it came time for the final matches. With thousands of people watching, it was the Darwin alliance that eventually came out on top, taking the title of 2019 FIRST World Champions.

Though the main focus of the event was the matches, that wasn’t all there was to do over the course of the event. While Trident wasn’t playing, students could go to the Innovation Fair, where many different companies had booths set up and were ready to show people what they do. These companies ranged from Abbott to Haas to Autodesk, and each booth had demonstrations and professionals to answer questions. Plus, every company had lots of free stuff, from cookies and fanny packs to socks and fidget spinners.

Between matches and the Innovation Fair, plus the gift shop and the Kettering University area, there was plenty to keep Trident members busy during their time at Worlds. It was a unique experience of huge scope, with teams coming from Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, and beyond. Even reaching Gurnee at 5am on Sunday morning after being stuck by the side of the road for two hours was worth it.

No matter what the future holds or when Trident Robotics gets to go to Worlds again, this opportunity is something the members will never forget.