Clemson’s IEEE Robotics team wins 2024 SoutheastCon Hardware Competition

March 29, 2024

Members of the Clemson University IEEE Robotics Team took home the first place trophy in the student Hardware (Robotics) Competition at the 2024 SoutheastCon held during spring break in Atlanta. The team and their robot, Roar-E, competed through three rounds to finish in the top spot out of over 50 university teams from across the Southeast. The Clemson team last won the hardware competition in 2021.

This year’s competition theme was based around a futuristic scenario where an autonomous robot is needed to collect and deliver components to activate a protection system to defend Earth against an asteroid impact. The teams were tasked with designing and programming a robot no larger than a 12-inch cube that could navigate the obstacles of a designated playing field, retrieve and correctly deliver “supply packages” and “fuel tanks” to the appropriate areas, and finally push a system launch button.

Clemson IEEE Robotics Team robot, Roar-e

The competition rules and theme were announced before the fall 2023 semester and were refined throughout the school year. The Clemson team worked on their robot the entire academic year as part of Creative Inquiry courses. The Clemson team was made up of:

Spring 2024:
Miguel Alday – General Engineering
Foster Baldwin – Electrical Engineering
Marcelle Gregory – Computer Engineering
Carter Lee McCauley – General Engineering
Cameron Nowell – Electrical Engineering
Ahmer Raza – Computer Science
Amanda Swearson – Electrical Engineering

Fall 2023
Connor Belli – Computer Engineering
Jeff Dale – Mechanical Engineering
Juan Paniagua – Mechanical Engineering
Alexander Perez – General Engineering
Rodney Stowe – Electrical Engineering

ECE’s IEEE faculty advisor Dr. Bill Reid shared this message:

Fellow ECE Tigers,

I am delighted and honored to announce to you all that our Department’s IEEE SoutheastCon Hardware Competition team placed first out of over fifty university teams this past weekend in Atlanta.

I would first like to thank the true leader of the project, my friend and partner Dr. Raza, for the supervision, experience, and countless hours of energy and toil that he volunteered to our students, and of course, our department chair, Dr. Xiao, for eagerly supporting Dr. Raza’s vision in creating and furnishing an unparalleled lab space, including the Robotics and Design ECEntials labs, which were instrumental in allowing our students to design and fabricate a winning design in a timely manner.

I’m also obligated to single out a few team members who went far ‘above and beyond’ during this arduous and time-consuming process that required dedication, determination, tenacity, and sacrifice to prevail.
Our two competitors at SoutheastCon were our department’s own Amanda Swearson and the Computer Science Department’s student (and son of Dr. Raza), Ahmer Raza. These two spent untold days and nights during the semester and then sacrificed their entire Spring Break in order to improve, and finally compete with, a machine which not only won the contest but also impressed the event’s observers in that unique Clemson spirit that our university is known for and that makes all Tiger fans proud.

I only wish our entire department could have been with Dr. Raza and me this past week, and especially the weekend, to witness these two Clemson students face each setback that arose—and there were many—with mature, sensible, and unwavering confidence, determination, and cooperative optimism while never resting for more than a few minutes from 3 o’clock Friday afternoon until Saturday evening. These two special students demonstrated two old adages that assert quality often trumps quantity, and that steadfast resolution is key to victory in a hard-fought contest.

Our department’s Connor Belli also dedicated countless hours in the Fall semester, which produced a sound foundation that the Spring team could build upon; and the freshman general engineering student Miguel Alday devoted many hours over the past two weeks to complete his part of the project and provide a working module to our two contestants.

Finally, I’d also like to thank students David Bootle and Ella Schafer, who eagerly assisted us in printing prototype after prototype in our exceptional 3-D printing lab, and of course, I want to recognize Gale Black who, as she has for so many years for me, made the acquisition of the components necessary to compete a fast and efficient process. In these days of ever-increasing prices and supply-chain problems, her proficient and enthusiastic aid was vital to our victory.

So, I now ask you all to please join me in congratulating all the Tigers that contributed to another Clemson victory.

I am Proud to be a Tiger!

Bill Reid

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