HOUSTON: Young Saudi students marked another global achievement at one of the world’s most prestigious robotics competitions held in Houston, US.
The 2023 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship was hosted at the George R. Brown Convention Center in the Texas city from April 19-22.
Some 974 student robotics teams from 59 countries around the world competed and exhibited across FIRST programs, including the LEGO League, Tech Challenge and Robotics Competition.
Teams earned honors for design excellence, competitive play, research, business plans, creativity and teamwork.
This year, Saudi Arabia was represented by four teams.
The first, QPS_Saudi, from Jeddah, competed in the FTC Challenge category. The second team, the Riyadh-based Emerald League, competed in the FLL Challenge category.
The third team, Saudi Maker-Jr, overseen by the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, competed in the FLL Explorer category. The last team, the Vision Innovators, from Riyadh and Tabuk, also competed in the FTC Challenge category.
Saudi Arabia recorded its best ever results at the event this year, competing for the first time in the FTC Challenge and demonstrating a high level of skill and creativity.
The Saudi Makers team won the coding award for the FLL Explorer category and ranked for the first time in the FTC category, marking a significant achievement for the team and the Kingdom.
Dr. Aiman Al-Barakati, CEO of the Saudi Federation for Robotics and RC Sports, told Arab News that the Saudi participation in the FIRST Championship represented the Kingdom’s commitment to nurturing young talent in the fields of science and technology.
“Through events like this, Saudi Arabia hopes to inspire a new generation of young leaders who will shape the future of the country’s technological advancement.
He said: “We are proud of our national teams’ performance in this year’s FIRST Championship. Their success is a testament to their dedication and hard work in developing their technical and analytical skills.”
The Saudi participation was in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program, he added.
By investing in STEM education and promoting a culture of innovation, Saudi Arabia seeks to develop a skilled workforce capable of leading the country’s technological transformation and economic growth.
Al-Barakati added: “The success of Saudi Arabia’s national teams in the FIRST Championship demonstrates the country’s potential to be a global leader in robotics and technology.
“The participation of Saudi youth in such events also serves as a platform for networking and exchanging ideas with students and professionals from around the world, contributing to the country’s vision of becoming a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.”
FIRST is a nonprofit organization that inspires young people to become leaders in science and technology.
The competition, which includes various categories for different age groups, challenges teams to build robots capable of performing specialized tasks.