FIRST and WRO Robotics Competitions in South Africa

FIRST (For Inspiration in Robotics Science and Technology) and WRO (World Robot Olympiad) are two robotics competitions in South Africa that use the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot.  The formats and focus of the two competitions are slightly different, but the aim and purpose is the same: better STEM and STEAM skills development for kids.

Click on the topic of STEM vs STEAM to learn more.

FIRST South Africa

FIRST lego league logo

FIRST competitions are a combination of robotics and business skills, so teams are generally bigger than with WRO. The competition is divided into four categories, namely:

  • FIRST Lego League Jr (Ages 6 -10)
  • FIRST Lego League (Grades 4 – 8)
  • FIRST Tech Challenge (Grades 7 – 12)
  • FIRST Robotics Competition (The ultimate sport for the mind – Not running in SA yet)

Obviously each competition has higher levels of complexity!

The FIRST Lego League Jr and FIRST Lego League 2018 season launch is taking place this weekend (4 August 2018) at Tshwane University of Technology in the FNB Auditaurium.  Here is the program/schedule for the event:

  • 08h15 Collection of challenge sets ( if available)
  • 09h00 Opening – Operational Partner SA
  • 09h10 FLL Junior Mission Moon
  • 09h20 FLL Into Orbit – The Research Project – Johannes de Vries
  • 09h40 Judging update – Paul Stapelberg
  • 09h50 Unveiling of the 2018 Challenge – John Hay
  • 10h45 Questions and Answers

World Robot Olympiad South Africa

Robotics Competitions in South Africa WRO

The World Robot Olympiad focussed more on the robotics than FIRST and has five different categories, namely:

  • Regular Category
  • Open Category
  • Football Category
  • Explorer Category
  • Advanced Robotics

WRO Regular Category

Teams must assemble robots that can solve a specific problem. The fastest robot around the course that completes all the tasks successfully will be the winner.

WRO Open Category

Teams must present designs for robots, based on a theme. There will be four judging categories and the team with the most points will be the winner.

WRO Football Category

Two teams each with two autonomous robots play a football (soccer) match. 10 minutes a side and the team scoring the most goals is the winner.

WRO Explorer Category

Teams can arrive with a pre-built robot chassis, but no attachments. Teams can log a maximum of 4 scores and the highest score will be the winner.  This serves as an entry level competition for beginners interested in the Regular Category and there are some special rules and conditions.

WRO Advanced Robotics

An engineering challenge for college and university students to build robots that can score as many points as possible in a robot version of the Tetris® game called TETRASTACK.

FIRST Tech Challenge South Africa

FIRST Tech Challenge South Africa

2018 Season Launch

The FTC season Launch will be held at Ryonic Robotics premises early September (@ 628 James Cres, Halfway House).  There will be some great prices for teams at the Launch. (Please register online)

Have a look at the Season launch Video:

The SA Championship will be held on the 2nd of March 2019 and an international FTC event at the Ticketpro Dome the 16th of March 2019. (Register online)

Centurion Robotics Club

There are teams all over the country that take part in FIRST and WRO – some teams even compete in both the competitions.  Of course this depends on how the schedules look, but in South Africa these two organisations try to work together in setting their schedules – contrary to the rest of the world where these two organisations are in fierce competition with each other.

I started the Centurion Robotics Club (CRC) to help more people to get involved in these robotics competitions in South Africa.  I offer help in getting a team started by conducting training for parents or educators who are considering starting a team.  There is also training available for the teams themselves.  This will be toward preparation for Robotics competitions in South Africa.  Here is a link to find out more about CRC.


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