Innovative student projects for sustainable transport in Panhellenic robotics final

Students developed sustainable projects that embody the future of transport in the world for the FIRST LEGO League Challenge Greece, Panhellenic Competition for Educational Robotic Research and Innovation

The future of global transport through ideas and design proposals inspired by 1,000 students aged 9 to 16 is presented on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 April in Thessaloniki (Pavilion 6 TIF- Helexpo), where the final of the Panhellenic Competition for Educational Robotic Research and Innovation “FIRST LEGO League Challenge Greece” will take place.

These are the top 50 robotics teams that qualified for the Greek final through the qualifying competitions (in Volos, Rhodes, Crete, Athens, Xanthi, Ioannina and Thessaloniki). Among them are the four teams, which have already been proposed to represent Greece by claiming a place among the twenty best teams in the world, in the world final, which will be held on June 21-23, 2022 in the USA. The final in Thessaloniki will also be attended by the National Robotics Team, which this year managed to win three medals for Greece at the FIRST Global Olympics.

From sending packages to rural and urban areas, to assistance in disasters and high-tech air transit, the teams that qualified for the final of the event, come up with innovative ideas for faster, safer, more reliable and inclusive transport, contributing to local and global economic growth.

The children guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and focusing on the 9th goal of building resilient infrastructure and promoting innovation focused on future transport sustainability.

“Unmanned vessel for the transport of medicines to small islands”

The TALOS Student Robotics Competition Team from the University of Thessaly was concerned about the transport of goods, on the occasion of the stranding of the container ship Ever Given in the Suez Canal and the blockade of one of the main sea routes in the world.

“Taking inspiration from the incident with the boat Ever Given, from our country with the 6000 islands but also from our own city, Volos, which has a port, we decided to deal with the sea transport of products“, the students say, explaining that “after meetings with residents of small islands and with the Non-Profit Group of the Aegean, we were informed that 10 remote islands do not have a pharmacy, another ten do not have a Health Centre and of these 80% are understaffed.On small and remote islands, they add, “there is a long delay in the transfer of administrative documents that need immediate delivery. Specifically, the residents told us that it can take up to eight days to reach their destination.”

As a solution to the problem, the team proposes an unmanned vessel (USVUnmanned Surface Vessel), to transfer medicines, medical equipment and administrative documents to islands with fewer than 500 inhabitants. The vessel was named JSON. It was designed with the help of a shipbuilder and a boat engineer.Inside there is a system of boxes with special specifications for the better maintenance of medicines, medical equipment and administrative documents, which moves on rails to facilitate loading and unloading when it reaches the destination.

“Iris delivers parcels to mountain villages”

EvoGirls is a group of girls who met at the MellonLAB robotics center in Piraeus and as they say they decided to create a special team to prove that “girls are also experts in robotics.

The EvoGirls project for the FIRST Lego League is called “Iris“. The students decided to deal with the problem of delivering parcels to remote mountain villages with few and mainly elderly residents. They contacted residents, professionals involved in their care and suppliers from towns. They documented the needs of the residents and the existing solutions.

“Iris” is a rover that can carry packages and move safely in the conditions of mountainous areas. Its battery has a range of 70 kilometers and is powered by solar energy. The team drew up a detailed plan for the implementation of its solution, thus giving the opportunity to residents to gradually familiarize themselves with the robot, to learn to operate it, so that in the final stage they can order through a platform what they need.

Girls have already developed the app and are currently recording how to educate older people. An emergency button has also been built into this app that can help lonely people or victims of domestic violence. “Iris” can also be used to transport assistance in emergencies e.g. blankets and food to stranded drivers, as it is designed to be able to move in the snow and between vehicles.

“No more traffic jams”

“So do you want to increase the traffic at your port by 20%?” is the question addressed by the SCRAPS by FutureLab team, proposing an innovative solution for faster unloading and loading of containers, which can reduce the journey of each ship by up to 30 hours. “What does that mean? No more traffic jams, more profits to the owner of the port as well as to the shipping company, due to the shorter stay of the ships in the port, which results in the transport of more products and goods annually with the already existing fleet”, say the students of the robotics academy from Kalamaria, Thessaloniki, explaining that “we achieve this with the help of tanks that lower and raise the water level by bringing the containers to the same level as the deck of the port, reducing the time for the elevation and recession of the containers.”

“The time we gain is 1-3 seconds per container. You may think that the time we gain is minimal, but the 1-3 seconds we earn is much more than you imagine.The largest merchant ship today has 24,000 containers and takes about 4 days for full loading or unloading, then the time we save is from 24,000-72,000 seconds which corresponds to 7-20 hours. This time is only in the loading of the ship. So our time doubles with unloading. So the total time we earn far exceeds one whole day,” they note.

“An aid capsule”

With the name “NO Name” they introduce themselves to five students who created the “aid capsule” for the transport of basic necessities to isolated islands in case of bad weather. The field of study for the development of their idea was the Othonoi in Corfu. “About 400 people live on the island, while in the last two years due to the pandemic, several Italians have been living on it permanently. The need of the island to provide basic necessities, especially during the winter months, was confirmed to us by the doctor of the island […] We thought that in order for a means to be able to approach the island in case of bad weather, it cannot be obviously on land, nor by air – besides, the island does not have an air route – nor by sea”, report the students, explaining how they arrived at the idea of an underwater approach by proposing an underwater construction, which they called the “Aid Capsule”.

The capsule will be fully automated, powered by electricity and will use the international submarine navigation system INS. To charge its battery there will be two stations, one on each island (starting point and destination), which will accumulate energy from renewable sources (air, sun).During the period of time that the capsule will not be used, it will be able to be rented by research centers and universities for various studies in the area. Charging stations will also be able to be used by private individuals to charge yachts at a cost. In this way, part of the costs of the capsule will be covered.

The Panhellenic Final of the First® Lego® League Educational Robotic Research and Innovation Competition is co-organized by the Educational Organization Eduact and the Region of Central Macedonia with the support of the Regional Union of Municipalities of Central Macedonia and under the auspices of the Municipality of Thessaloniki (Department of Programs and Lifelong Learning). The FIRST® LEGO® League is an approved program by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.

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