College/Areial Robotics Info

After seeing the college teams and their robots at St. Louis, I was wondering if there was more info on the competition/program. It seemed pretty cool and I think could have a lot of promise. Is there anyone who has more information to share on this? Thanks!

I know that the Michigan Tech Robotic Systems Enterprise is planning on participating next year. We’re mostly waiting on the same thing as you – information. If anybody has concrete info about registration, rules, dates, competitions…I know of several schools that want to become a part of this great program.

If crazy cool innovations happen in FRC, imagine what will come out of this program!

Here is the manual from the competition:

During the actual event, only one game was being played during the whole 3 days even through the manual states multiple games.

I put my name down on the list, but haven’t heard anything. It would be nice if there was an easy way to get more info about this program…

Does anybody know which schools were involved in this pilot?

1 - Illinois Institute of Technology
2 - Oakland University
3 - Pace University
4 - University of Wisconsin Platteville
5 - University of Minnesota
6 - Milwaukee School of Engineering
7 - University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
8 - Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
9 - University of Washington
10 - Clarkson University

Thank you all for your interest!

To clarify on the program, our presence at the event was in the capacity of a demonstration. Many factors contributed to the final product you saw at the dome and it would never have happened without the support of the terrific event volunteers, FIRST and the CARD planning committee.

The format of a program in years to come has yet to be determined. With that said, we would love to hear your thoughts, feedback, and suggestions, and to hear from any of you who are interested in participating.

Please feel free to contact us at CollegiateAerialRobotics ‘at’

We are in the process of compiling the media, survey results and many email addresses we collected during the event and will be sending out additional information as appropriate.

As CJMango said above, the program is currently working on analyzing how this year went. As you have noticed, information on the program has been rather limited and the best way to get information was to know someone who had it.

In the meantime, remember that step one is getting a group together at your college.

Look into what it takes to start a student group at your college or the college you plan to intend. Find friends and classmates who would be interested.

If you email the CARD address CJMango gave or PM one of the people involved with the program, they will point you to leaders of CARD teams who would be more than happy to assist you in getting your own team started.

GO FIRST had a great time at this event this past weekend. We were able to network with so many other teams and really learned a lot about how to make quad-copters work! We have a number of students who saw FIRST for their first time this weekend, and even more who had been in FIRST but had never been to the Championship. This was truly a fantastic event that has motivated our members. We look forward to participating next year and are expecting to demo our quad-copter and ground-vehicle around campus and in the community.

It was also amazing to see the finals of the event and how fantastic the quads looked when they were competing against each other. We will have pictures and video coming up soon! We encourage everyone to check it out.

For some background on our program GO FIRST is a FIRST Support Organization at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. We were created in December 2009 and had seven members. Our goals are to support the FIRST program by helping area teams, help our students through the student in FRC to a mentor in FIRST transition period, and this year we were a Collegiate Aerial Robotics Demonstration Team. We have done presentations at a number of events around the Midwest region, have helped to mentor or advise 21 FRC teams, and have about 30 members involved with our program.

Feel free to PM me if you have more questions about GO FIRST!


Hi All,

My name is Dave Fairbanks, I am a junior Computer Engineering student at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was the president and team leader of CARD team 6, SCOE Robotics, as well as a member of the game design committee for the demo.

I was a FIRSTer all four years of high school, and continued for 4 years as a mentor in college. In my time as a mentor, I started and coached 2 FLL teams and 3 Jr. FLL teams, along with mentoring the 2 FRC teams I became involved with. My team members were involved in all levels of FIRST and mentored a total of 6 FRC teams, while our school sponsors many more.

I found out about the demo in late December, and immediately sent an email to the MSOE mailing lists. I got 50 emails per hour for several hours from people who were very interested in this new college level competition! The interest is there and everyone was extremely positive towards our program, we’re waiting to hear from FIRST about our future!!

Starting a team was very difficult in the narrow time frame we had. Becoming an official MSOE organization required a lot of steps and paperwork before we could begin to fund raise. My biggest advice to anyone who wanted to start a team for next year would be to start NOW! Develop the relationships with staff and faculty of your school, and develop relationships with your local FRC teams to beg and borrow parts from (a woot woot to our saviors 537, 706, and 1103)

Please, continue the discussion here and we can answer anything we know the answer to!


Dave Fairbanks
President, Team 6, SCOE Robotics
Computer Engineer, 2012

Hello everyone, I was the mechanical leader for the SCOE ground vehicle and wow, this program was great! It was really interesting to be “thrown to the wolves” so to speak. In FRC, we had our kit of parts, our well established contacts and sponsors, and our mentors to rely on. Most of us didn’t have to deal with starting a team fresh, much less during the course of a few months!

I’m not sure how everyone else’s FRC teams were run, but even the most student led teams have a lot of mentor involvement…from money and fundraising to design to transportation. It’s something I always took for granted. When I participated in this program, I had to accomplish all of this with my fellow students alone. I found it much more difficult but much more rewarding because when I see the robot that I built, I know that I was completely responsible for it.

For this reason I see collegiate robotics as an excellent program because not only does it give the college kids something to do, it trains mentors, it promotes FRC support, and it trains students to be great future employees.

I hope to see this event grow in the future and I am excited to participate!

-Eric Larson

My name is Sravan Suryadevara and I was part of the IlliniBots, CARD Team #7 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I was originally going to post a crazy long essay about my experiences and what I think should happen. But I’d rather have this be a discussion.

So I encourage anyone who is interested in this program to post questions. Or any people that think this program may have negative consequences or have concerns to a college FIRST competition, please post away.

All the participants of CARD have been talking a lot of whether or not we should make this a reality and how to make this a reality, all the while sticking with FIRST. I feel it’s better to air out any issues and such before fully pushing for a college program and it’s important to have the FIRST community support. So let us know!

My one sentence about my experience: It was mind-blowing, CARD, FRC, the Championship, everything was awesome.

Hi everyone,

My name is Emal Alwis and I am a member of the University of Minnesota GO FIRST, CARD Team # 5.

I was the Captain of the Hopkins Robotics FRC Team in High school (#2239), and now as a University Student, it’s great to be able to stay involved with FIRST but in a more collegiate level experience. The competition is designed to be a lot more difficult than FRC, but since CARD is still in development, there are so many different avenues that this program can lead to, all of which are really exciting!

In case you missed the competition, I’ve posted some videos on the the GO FIRST YouTube Site.

Just visit us at:

I’ll be posting videos whenever I have time to do so, so check back often!


As one of the game announcers, the one with the wizard like hat, I have to say I had an amazing time in St. Louis. I wanna thank all the folks that stopped by to see GO-FIRST and the 9 other teams compete. From the bottom of my heart I wanna see this again next year but like Chris said above they are compiling all the data before making an informed decision. Meanwhile, I think CJmango should do a dance :). \o/

Thanks again to all that made this demonstration a reality, and I hope to see you all again next year!

I’m Vivek Chittineni and I’m from GOFIRST - CARD team 5. I was a member of team 2264 through high school and captain for several years. I’m a freshman in college this year and had a great time at the CARD event. The general impression I got from students at the event was incredibly positive. There’s a lot of people that want this to happen. Thanks to all of the volunteers behind this.


I would like to be involved with this outstanding effort. I have been in FIRST a long time now (9+ years) and I would like myself and my company, FAST Robotics which makes Quadrotor UAV’s to be involved. Who should I approach for this?

Hi Everyone,

I am Grant from CARD team 6 (SCOE Robotics @ Milwaukee School of Engineering). I am the teams secretary and webmaster. I also worked on the network design team.

I had a LOT of FUN in St. Louis!

Hi all, this is Keith, the team leader from Pace’s robotics team. If you don’t remember, we’re the ones that didn’t really get anything accomplished and I had some questions I was hoping the other teams could answer.

-How did you guys finance your projects? How did you find benefactors? Our quad budget was around $500-$600 which meant no backup parts and cheap construction to begin with… This is what killed us since, after we crashed it, we had to poke around trying to figure out what was wrong with it (props to Platteville for all the help).

-What majors were your team members? I imagine most of you all were engineering majors? Any CS?

Those were the main two questions I had. Also, have you guys already started working on newer/better revisions? Do we have any idea what future competitions will be?

Thanks in advance

EDIT: Also, how many members did you guys have?

Hi Keith!

  1. GO FIRST was financed by a grant we had requested before we learned about this competition that we were originally going to use for a demonstration ground robot. That money ended up going to the first part of the Quad Copter.

We were also financed by our College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, who with out their support we wouldn’t have been able to cover the trip down to the event. They covered our travel, hotel, and marketing costs making them our largest sponsors. They are unable to support individual FRC teams around the area (they do help sponsor and promote the regional) so being able to support a Collegiate team from their school is an avenue where they would be able to support FIRST.

We also were able to get into contact with ATK a company who ended up giving us a donation that allowed us to finish our Quad copter.

National Instruments was able to sponsor us with an in-kind donation of a single board rio.

For ATK and NI both companies we were able to connect with at a career event where one of our students mentioned their involvement in FIRST and what we were doing now.

A local technical college, Dunwoody Institute of Technology, was able to help us by welding our GV frame together.

Additional money came from grants from the school and from other FRC teams for parts and from the local student chapter of IEEE that reserves money to help student groups on projects similar to this.

Next year we have student service fees to work with.

  1. Our majors include- Mechanical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Chemistry, Biology, Biomedical Engineering, CSCI, and mine is Scientific and Technical Communications.

  2. We have 15 members involved with CARD and about 30 who are part of GO FIRST. We really have 20 core members in our organization.

We contacted several different companies by getting their university relations contact and sending them information about who we are and what we’re trying to get involved in. We actually didn’t get that much money (about a $1000 from Qualcomm) and we made ours out of aluminum so it didn’t really break. We also kind of ran around got some help from the ECE Machine Shop. We also got additional funding for travel from our Engineering Council, which was awesome!!

We had 1 MechE, 3 CS and 4 ECE

Well, we got some advice on how to program our quadrocopter, and gave us a mini-lecture on control systems. Our problem was that we couldn’t get it flying because of our PID tuning. So we’re going to be trying that system out soon.

I think that future competitions will probably revolve around Aerial Vehicles nooooooo Idea what the game will be though.

10 people in all, 8 people that came to the competition.