Gael Force Robotics Club To Compete at VEX World Championships


While most students are busy studying for finals and AP testing, the Gael Force Robotics Club at Dublin High School has another end-of-year target: the VEX World Championships. VEX competition goals change every year, and this year’s competition is called “In the Zone.” Each round of the competition has two robots competing against another alliance. These alliances must stack cones, then move those cones to specific zones to score points. Cones and spaces are limited, so the competitions can get very aggressive and intense. Each round has a fifteen second autonomous period where the robot is working on its own, then a driver period where a person controls the robot with a controller. Points are rewarded based on the number of cones stacked, the highest stack, and the number of cones in zones. The team with more points wins the round.



This year, four Gael Force Robotics teams qualified for the World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, which will take place from April 25 to April 28. The process to qualify was long and arduous.



“Since last April, our teams have been building and programming robots designed to score points in this season’s game, In the Zone,” explained Jaiveer Singh, president of Gael Force Robotics. “These robots were put through the rigor of competition at numerous regional tournaments throughout the fall and winter, giving our teams the opportunity to identify problems and develop solutions to improve their mechanisms.”


Competing in any of the four Gael Force competition teams requires serious commitment and dedication. Derek Xu, a member of the C team, estimates, “I spend around twelve hours a week at practices and meetings, without counting weekend tournaments.”



After all, as Singh puts it, “the task of creating a stellar robot involves researching, brainstorming, designing, modeling, prototyping, programming, documenting, driving, and ultimately iterating in a continuous loop. Each of these subtasks has to be done by someone, and it’s impossible for one person to handle everything on their own. By recognizing the contributions each member can make, based on their prior experience and engineering coursework, team captains can split up the complex task of creating a robot into manageable steps, allowing the team to deliver a better product ahead of schedule. Altogether, teams must learn to work together and manage their resources well to truly succeed in the VEX competition.”


All of this work is used at multiple competitions throughout the year, leading to the California State Championships. The state competition was a success for the Gael Force as two teams reached the semi-finals, receiving a bid into the Worlds competition. A third team won the State Design Award for its robot, securing a spot at Worlds as well. The fourth and final qualifying team was able to overcome significant adversity with its robot to achieve a qualification based on the skills competition, scoring fourth in the world.



Gael Force Robotics is hoping to repeat and even go beyond past successes at the World Championship. One of last year’s Gael Force Robotics teams took home the Think Award, a reward for programming excellence, for the second time in a row. Another team was a Division Finalist, but narrowly lost in the round robin. This year, the teams are looking to three-peat the Think Award, as well as advance into the round robin stage past the Division event. A 600-team competition, Worlds will be the hardest competition Gael Force Robotics has faced recently, but their hard work will surely pay off.


Singh remarked, “The honor of representing our school, city, state, and country is truly a reward in itself, and we are immensely grateful for this opportunity.” Dublin High School has full faith in the Gael Force, and we will be supporting you the entire way.