Students come 4th in Robotix Faire

Three students from our Solar Learning Lab in San Mateo, Mexico have come forth in a national robotics competition. 


The Robotix Faire 2020 saw hundreds of young people tackle challenges with robotics, with the team from San Mateo looking at the issue of transportation in their city. 

“The activity that produces the greatest amount of greenhouse gases in our community is private transportation.”

Three students from the Mexico demonstrate their robotic bus on the table in front of them

Although the lab is currently closed due to the Coronavirus, the students were able to study at home with the help of their instructor Juan Vitaliano Pacheco, and built their project, the JAR BUSS. Over three weeks, Rita, 10, Rodolfo, 11  and Aranza, 9 completed the project using an Arduino, electrical items from our partners at Robotix, and household items such as boxes and bottle caps.

Their solution was to create a driverless bus which would transport the same amount of people as 10 private cars, the current popular option in their community, using only a third of the energy the cars would have needed. 

They considered electric cars as an option, but currently, the electric cars in the area still get their energy from the electrical network, which  obtains electricity through the burning of carbon in 73% of cases. The team researched and found that local people weren’t using public transport because it was often slow, and the drivers were rude, so the bus being driverless was a big factor in their design. 

The robotic bus is on a play mat as the students show it's function to sense blockages in the road

They used an Arduino and ultrasonic sensors which allowed the bus to stop if there was an obstacle in the road and restart once it had moved, with the bus powered by a rechargeable battery.

In addition to this team coming 4th, another team from San Mateo won the award for best research, team Eolix – Mariana, 11 and Santiago, 13. They came up with an Eolic (wind-powered) public lighting system as a green alternative to more common forms of power generation which pollute our planet, and as an answer to the lack of public lighting in their community which makes the streets feel unsafe.

The results from just 2 years of access to technology and robotics training speaks for itself! We look forward to seeing what these young people achieve in the future with their new skills.