FIRST Robotics to Take Over Kettering University

A robot holds up a game piece at Kettering University.

Kettering University will host two FIRST Robotics district competitions in March at the Connie and Jim John Recreation Center.

Forty FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) high school teams will compete in each of the FRC Kettering Districts 1 and 2, presented by Ford, March 2-4 and March 9-11. Opening ceremonies kick off the competitions at 10:30 a.m. March 3 and 9 a.m. March 10. Award ceremonies will take place at 5 p.m. March 4 and March 11.

“It is an absolute honor to partner with Ford, yet again, to make a positive impact on these talented students,” said Kim Shumaker, Robotics Center and Robotics Outreach Director.

Kettering University began sponsoring FIRST Robotics high school teams in 1998. Ten teams currently work out of the University’s Robotics Community Center, completing their builds.

The University offered its first two scholarships to FIRST Robotics students in 1999 and has awarded more than $5.5 million since then. The Robotics Community Center opened in 2014. The University has hosted two district competitions each year since 2008.

This year’s challenge, called CHARGED UP, tasks teams with using their robots to bring game pieces back to their respective sides of the competition area. In the first 15 seconds of the match, robots operate autonomously. Drivers control the robots during the remaining two minutes and 15 seconds. Teams earn bonus points when their robots dock or engage with their charging stations. 

Teams have six weeks to design, build and prepare their industrial-sized robots to compete in a field game against robots from other teams. District events across Michigan occur over six weeks, with three to five events per week. 

Teams earn ranking points to determine who will move on to the FIRST Michigan State Championship in Saginaw in April. In addition, some awards automatically qualify a team for the FIRST Michigan State Championship. 

For more information about robotics at Kettering University, click here.