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News Article

UTC Aerospace Systems Supports NC FIRST Robotics Regional Competition

NC FIRST crowd cheers during mascot parade and opening ceremonies.
UTC Aerospace Systems Community Relations Manager, Cynthia Forbes, welcomes attendees to the regional competition. Special FIRST Robotics quilt in the background.
Robots shoot on their own during the
UTC Aerospace Systems employee Andrew Martin (far right) is joined by team #2642 The Pitt Pirates during adjusting exercises at the NC FIRST competition in Raleigh, N.C.
Team #4481 The Rembrandts, all the way from Eindhoven, Netherlands sang their National Athem both days. They also received the Engineering Inspiration Award.
(L-R) Barrett Caldwell, Professor of Industrial Engineering/Aeronautics & Astronautics of Purdue University; Karen Leggio of TE Corporation; Cynthia Forbes of UTC Aerospace Systems; Alan Smith of Qualcomm; and Marie Hopper, Executive Director of NC FIRST Robotics.
Team of 2014 NC FIRST judges.
NC FIRST judges, Simon Sawyer and Andrew Martin of UTC Aerospace Systems confer during a break.
UTC supported team, Green Hope Robotics of Cary, North Carolina was awarded the NC FIRST Robotics Rookie All Star Award.
Team #2059 prepares their robot for the autonomous phase of the next round.
Team #4816 Gadget Girls is an all-girls team from Raleigh, N.C. and is supported by UTC through the Girl Scouts of America.
From their pit, the Raptor robotics team works feverishly to prepare their robot for the next round.
Team #4561 test their robot with the ball in between rounds.
Team #3459 Pyro Techs on their way to the field for the next round of competition.
Team #4383 John C. Holmes Aces High pause for a photo opp.
Team #252X Robo Doves gave a
FIRST Robotics student salutes as a sign of respect for fellow teams.

Picture a field of red and blue robots clamoring for an oversized volleyball. Their ultimate goal is to hoop it through a high target, volleying over a metal truss or a low hollow box target. The crowd is roaring while head-bobbing music is blasting to add to the excitement and energy of the game.

That was the scene at the Dorton Arena in Raleigh, N.C. in mid-March. Some 54 FIRST robotics teams competed in the 2014 competition dubbed Aerial Assist. The goal of the game at the competition (the red alliance competes against the blue alliance) is to score as many low, high and truss goals as possible - all while assisting alliance robots to score points too. Arial Assist is a game of basketball, volleyball and soccer all rolled-up in one.

UTC Aerospace Systems was a supporting regional sponsor for the 2014 NC FIRST tournament with additional support from UTC Corporate. Of the 54 teams competing in the tournament, two were UTC supported teams:  #5190 Green Hope Robotics from Cary, N.C. and team #4816 Gadget Girls from Raleigh, N.C.

After two days of fierce competition, teams from North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and one team from as far away as the Netherlands had played regular and elimination rounds. The games culminated with a winning red alliance of teams #900 Beechwood Metalworkers of Durham, NC, #1287 Aluminum Assault from Myrtle Beach, SC and #4288 Worchester Beach Bots of Berlin, MD. These teams will now advance to the FIRST National Championship in St. Louis, Missouri in late April.

In keeping with tradition, teams were honored with special awards that were selected by volunteer judges like Andrew Martin, UTC Aerospace Systems and first-time volunteer judge for NC FIRST. When asked about his experience as a judge, Andrew noted, “What an honor to participate as judge at this event; to help inspire young adults to pursue an engineering career and see their excitement as the robots they designed and built performed in competition. I was amazed at the learning, the effort and the willingness to share with others that these kids exhibited, and I’m proud of the opportunities UTC and UTC Aerospace Systems provide to open doors for young people.” Several other UTC Aerospace Systems employees volunteered during the tournament.

NC FIRST Executive Director, Marie Hopper, noted this was a history-making year for NC FIRST. “It was the first time in five-years for an all-North Carolina team alliance in the elimination rounds. Three rookie NC teams played in the elimination rounds. And seven of the eight alliances had a NC team – this is the highest number of NC teams to play in the elimination matches ever!” she said.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has the mission to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. UTC and its employees have been supporting FIRST, a non-profit organization founded by American inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kame​n, for nearly 20 years.

In 2014, hundreds of UTC employees are volunteering as mentors to 80 FIRST teams across North America. In addition, United Technologies is sponsoring regional FIRST robotics competitions in Connecticut as well as the New England Championship in Boston, Mass. (April 11-12), and the 2014 FIRST World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri (April 24-26). Earlier in the year, the company sponsored the FIRST Tech Challenge Championship in Pune, India.