UC Robot challenges former All Black

11 October 2011

Auckland was the ultimate rugby venue for a drop-goal kicking challenge yesterday, albeit a robotic one.

UC Robot challenges former All Black - Imported from Legacy News system

Working on UC's kicking robot are (from left) UC BotSoc founding members George Buchanan and Cameron Gunn, and UC alumnus and CEO of InvertRobotics James Robertson. Photo: Lisa-Marie Brooks.

Auckland was the ultimate rugby venue for a drop-goal kicking challenge yesterday, albeit a robotic one.

A kicking robot, designed and built by the University of Canterbury’s BotSoc (robotics society), tested its mettle against rival robots from Massey University’s Albany and Palmerston North campuses in a man versus robot challenge with former All Black and NZ2011 Ambassador Andrew Mehrtens at Victoria Park, Auckland.

BotSoc, with support from SMC Pneumatics and NZICT, was invited to design and build a competitive drop-goal kicking machine capable of competing against Mehrtens who, until recently, held the title of all-time leading point scorer for the All Blacks. 

Mehrtens drew the kick-off with Massey University’s Albany campus team. All three robots managed to kick the ball through the posts once from three attempts. But each change in wind direction or position necessitated changes and recalibration for the Massey teams but just fine tuning on positioning and power for UC’s BotSoc robot.

“It has been difficult fitting in this challenge with our studies, especially at this time of the year,” said UC BotSoc team leader George Buchanan.

“But NZi3 and the University of Canterbury have been very supportive in getting our robot up here.  In just four weeks we have successfully designed, developed and exhibited our machine in The Cloud and then came second in the kicking challenge.

“We also had the only device that was able to successfully drop-kick the rugby ball. All the other robots took spot-kicks,” he said.

The robotics event is part of the NZICT's Rutherford Innovation Showcase, a series of technology events timed to coincide with the Rugby World Cup.

The robot was also exhibited last week as part of Canterbury Development Corporation’s (CDC) Canterbury Showcase where members of the public were able to pit their own kicking skills against BotSoc’s machine. The students’ trip to Auckland was sponsored by CDC.

For more information please contact:

Rankings 2023

UC Geography on the rise in global subject rankings

New international rankings have placed three University of Canterbury (UC) subjects in the Top 100 of all universities globally.

UC Connect

Public talk: pandemic lessons on healthcare, tech & reality

Learn about marketing medicine and lessons on healthcare, technology and reality in a pandemic from international experts at their upcoming public ...