Student robot-makers from all over the Netherlands are gearing up for this year’s Sioux Mechatronics Trophy, to be held during Dutch Technology Week 2018 at the Markt in the centre of Eindhoven.

Each year, the Sioux Mechatronics Trophy contest pits student teams from the country’s various technical colleges and universities against one another, challenging them to build an autonomous robot capable of completing a specific task – and racing against one another to do it in the quickest time.

“Every year we have a completely new assignment”, says Wilbert Lommen, project engineer at Sioux and organiser of the annual competition. “We want the students to feel the complete project flow from initial question to end product, similar to what we do as a company”.

We also always look for socially relevant assignments”, says Lommen. “A lot of times it has been about caring a little bit”.

Past years’ contests have challenged the student teams to build fire-fighting robots, as well as robots capable of delivering (and opening) drinks for elderly people confined to sick beds.

To win this year’s prize however, the 16 participating teams have to build a solar panel cleaning robot, able to crawl across the slippery glass surface of a mock-up rooftop solar panel sitting at a 45° incline, and wipe it totally clean of dirt. The fastest team to navigate their robot across the 12-panel set-up on the day, and get past the added obstacles (without falling off), wins and gets to take home the coveted trophy.

The Sioux CCM Mechatronics Trophy contest will be held at 18:00 at the Markt in Eindhoven on Wednesday 6th June, as part of Dutch Technology Week 2018.