Oklahoma student robotics teams' competition takes flight

Student robotics teams from four states traveled Saturday to the University of Oklahoma in Norman to compete with autonomous flying drones.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Published: December 4, 2011
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photo - A drone takes to the air as students from middle and high schools compete with flying drones at the University of Oklahoma's Rawls Engeineering Practice Facility in Norman, OK, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011. By Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD
A drone takes to the air as students from middle and high schools compete with flying drones at the University of Oklahoma's Rawls Engeineering Practice Facility in Norman, OK, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011. By Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

Oklahoma State University next year will offer a graduate degree in unmanned aerial systems. And Tinker Air Force Base is the epicenter of aircraft repair for the U.S. Air Force.

“We've already got an Oklahoma-based program that's filling the pipelines for those jobs,” Goodgame said, noting the institute has been around since 1994, inspiring students to go into math and science fields. “These guys are ready to get into college or a technical school and we'll have the jobs for them.”

The institute is best known for Botball, its robotics competition, which in the past 17 years has become a nationwide competition with 240 teams in 18 regions.

Goodgame said that next year the aerial vehicle competition will be available for Botball teams.

He estimated it costs about $1,000 to start up a Botball team with equipment and programming software, and then the aircraft, which looks like a hovercraft with four horizontal propellers, is an additional $300.

He said traveling and competing in Botball matches is also an expense for the programs.

The institute promotes studies in science and mathematics for students from kindergarten through 12th grade.