News Release
Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362, Ext. 4007
PR Number: 45-08

National Transportation Week kicks off with commuting-themed robotics challenge

Robotic models built by middle school students required to perform numerous tasks

The first event in a busy week of activities in celebration of National Transportation Week takes place on Monday, May 12, 2008 as 15 teams from 12 Rhode Island middle schools compete in the 4th Annual University of Rhode Island Transportation Center Robotics Challenge.


The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the URI Transportation Center are teaming up to present this competition at the University of Rhode Island Memorial Union Ballroom from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Media are invited to view the competition as robots built by the student teams complete a challenge course consisting of commuting-themed transportation missions such as moving disabled vehicles to a garage, delivering food to an airplane and picking up passengers at a bus stop.


Each student also is required to enter a poster contest, in which they depict transportation-related careers. First, second, and third place awards will be given for the robotics challenge and the poster exhibit.


“Competitions such as these are great for getting young minds thinking about math, science and engineering,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “These children represent our future and opportunities for hands-on learning are incredibly valuable.”


Students have been preparing for this competition for the past several weeks, and most belong to after-school robotics clubs. They use robotic kits based on Lego building bricks.


Participating Robotics Teams include:


Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School of Coventry;

• Archie Cole Middle School and our Lady of Mercy School, East Greenwich;

• Barrington Middle School, Barrington;

• Birchwood Middle School and Ricci Middle School, North Providence;

• John F. Deering Middle School, West Warwick

• Martin Middle School and Riverside Middle School, East Providence;

• Parkview Middle School and Bain Middle School, Cranston;

• Perry Middle School, Providence; and

• Winman Junior High School, Warwick.