RGS Team Wins the National Land Rover in Schools 4×4 Technology Challenge
Team Ascent, comprising Alec Berry, Jack Beet, George Mann, Harry Smith, Ed Lawson and Faiz Ibrar (Year Eleven), has won the National Land Rover in Schools 4×4 Technology Challenge, beating rivals from around the Country. The boys picked up a total of five Awards at the competition including, Best Rookie Team, Best Engineered Vehicle, English Champions and UK Champions (for which they were awarded two trophies).
The Challenge is to build a radio controlled four-wheel drive (4×4) vehicle to the specifications provided that will successfully navigate and complete obstacles on an off road test track that is just as demanding as the real thing, and emulates the capabilities of a full size 4×4 vehicle.
Since July 2015 when planning began, about as many prototype models as Dyson created when developing the first bagless vacuum cleaner have been produced by the Team, but their spirits have remained high and the goal of creating a competitive radio controlled 1/18th scale off-road 4×4 vehicle never felt out of reach.
Relying heavily on our 3D printer, prototype after prototype suspension component was manufactured and tested until the optimum geometry was established. Next came the development of the steering, which was the hardest challenge of all. Attempting to steer all four wheels left and right by 30 degrees without preventing them from lifting up and down through a full 60mm whilst driving over obstacles proved to be an almost impossible task, but we did it. After this the development of, firstly, the electrics including automatic headlights and tilt sensor and, secondly, the body shell were a cinch.
So off we went to the Regional Finals held in Birmingham in early February. Spirits were running high but unfortunately things could not have gone worse for us on the test track. A plastic pinion wheel shed a tooth within 1 metre of the start. Despite this setback, the other areas upon which Team Ascent were assessed including our pit display, verbal presentation and design portfolio earned us enough marks to progress through to the UK National Final with the top Award, Central Region Champions.
Many more meetings were held and hours were spent preparing the car for the UK National Final at Silverstone. Certainly confidence was running high but at the back of our minds was always the mechanical failure we suffered in Birmingham. Team Ascent was first onto the test track and the car looked quite capable. It climbed the first couple of hills with relative ease and things were looking promising. We won’t mention the rope bridge and the hill with the rollers but on the whole the car performed well. However, clearly the team’s driving skills needed more work!
Later in the day the pit display was judged, the portfolio was assessed and the team delivered their verbal presentation to the judges. We all began to believe that we might not be going home empty handed; but never in our wildest dreams did we believe that we would be quite as successful as we were. In all, four trips onto the stage were made to collect our awards including the coveted final journey to the podium where Team Ascent were presented with the award of UK National Champions 2016, awesome!
Mr John Pitt, Headmaster said, “I would like to congratulate the Team and also thank the AOOEs who kindly supported us with some additional funds for the project and, in doing so, demonstrated their faith in the Team to deliver a successful outcome”.
Alec Berry, Team Ascent’s Leader said, “There were some really good teams there and it felt amazing to realize that we had made the best car in the Country. We are now looking forward to improving our car and preparing for the international final in July.”
So next it’s onto the World Finals in July. New York, Sydney, Rio De Janeiro would all have been good, but the Ricoh Arena in Coventry it will be! We are all thrilled to be attending and proud to be representing RGS Worcester. So look out for the live video stream from the event in early July and see how we get on.
You can also see the moment that Team Ascent was announced as winners here. (go to 33 minutes into the YouTube film to see the announcement).
Mr Michael Howard – Teacher of Design & Technology