Hills Road students win tour of Cambridge Medical Robotics following prestigious competition


A team of students from Hill Road Sixth Form College have won the RoboCon 2018 competition.

Sponsored by Cheffins, this prestigious event on Sunday (15th April) welcomed eight teams from schools across the region to put their robotics and engineering skills to the test over a two day event, hosted at Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge. The winning team has been awarded with a guided tour of Cambridge Medical Robotics, one of the world’s leading robotics and engineering companies.

The competition was launched in November 2017 when the challenges were announced and a kit of electronics was given to each competing team. The teams then had four months to design, build and programme an autonomous robot to achieve the challenges, using a vision system to recognise markers. The competition was held at Hills Road Sixth Form College at the weekend, using a custom built arena provided by the fit out and design company COEL.  The competition consisted of two days of competitive rounds, pitching four robots at a time to locate and retrieve marked cubes, culminating in the finals on Sunday.

The competition was judged by some of the biggest names in robotics engineering including Jeffrey Temple-Head from Aurora Space; Carmelo D’Agostino from ARM Holdings and Dr Ross Henrywood from Cambridge Medical Robotics.

David Massey, Leader of Hills Road Robotics Group said: “We started planning this competition in October 2107, when we learned that the robotics competition we were planning to enter (Student Robotics) was having a hiatus for a year. With the help of Cheffins’ sponsorship we were able to design a set of electronics to allow other teams to build an autonomous robot and to invent a suitable competition for them to enter. We launched Robocon 2018 in November 2017 and had 12 teams sign up for the competition. In the ensuing months, four teams withdrew and we ended up with eight successful teams who came to the competition in April.”

“All of the teams seemed to enjoy the event and it was great to see the various approaches taken to solving the problem we set. The competition was fierce and all of the robots improved during the practice rounds leading to a tense and exciting finale to the competition. All of the teams showed ingenuity and enthusiasm and we could not have asked for a better conclusion to our efforts. To cap it all, our robot managed to win the competition overall, although any of the teams in the final could have taken the prize.”

“We are tremendously grateful to our sponsors, and in particular to Cheffins for being willing to support this event. Without the funding and support we could never have managed to build and supply the kits, the arena, the software and the support that are needed for this sort of competition.”

The results of the competition are as follows:

First Place – Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge

Second Place – The Perse School, Cambridge

Third Place – Richard Collyers College, Sussex

Image (top): Robocon Winning Team: Winning team from Hills Road Sixth Form College. Back row from L-R: Will Munns (mentor), Zev Cooper-Bennun, Michael Tennant, Alex Apen, Adam Hagan, Ayaan Masood, Josh Holland, Ed Shepherd, Ed Wlaker, Yuri Den Ouden

Second row: James Granville, Lydia Shepherd, Elizabeth Hughes, Sam Clarke, Brendan Coll, David Massey(mentor)

Front row: Tom Humbles, Jack Larkin, Amy Shaw, Pralish Satyal, Florence Miller, George Cliff, Myles Bienek.

Hills Road Sixth Form College - Team Systemetric are the Robotics group of Hills Road students who meet regularly to create, programme and build a robot to enter an annual competition at Southampton University. Unfortunately, the competition has been cancelled this year and that is why the students decided to organise their own Robotics competition for local schools to enter. The team of students have created a website: http://hr-robocon.org/

Cheffins is Cambridgeshire’s leading firm of surveyors, valuers, property advisers and auctioneers. Established in 1825, the firm has 6 offices in Cambridge: Ely; Haverhill; Newmarket, Saffron Walden and Sutton. Cheffins’ professional services include residential sales; residential lettings; fine art auctions; commercial property; agriculture and rural business services; vintage and classic auctions; planning and development; property auctions and tractor and plant machinery.

COEL - with over 30 years’ experience in design and fit-out, COEL delivers innovative workplace solutions. Our motto, “Making Space Work”, encapsulates our ability to transform any workplace into an imaginative, yet practical working environment. Our business has been built on our reputation for providing first class customer service.  We work closely with our clients, taking the time to really understand their needs, before delivering solutions to help them succeed and grow. We offer design and fit-out services for offices, schools, industrial, laboratory and retail businesses.


Cheffins is a market leading firm of surveyors, valuers, property advisers and auctioneers. What distinguishes Cheffins is its unique range of specialisms and pre-eminence in them, regionally, nationally and internationally.