All’s well, (thanks for your prayers). We made it to Suzhou and checked into the hotel for our two-night stay.
Rather than the 12 hour bus adventure we experienced on the way to Hefei, the drive back to Shanghai took 7 to 8 hours. It started to rain as we neared Suzhou. That’s when a medium-sized truck executed a full 360 degree spin-out in front of our bus. Thanks be to God, there was no accident, (it missed our bus).
Suzhou is charming and picturesque. Generally speaking it’s much quieter and more peaceful than the industrial, clamoring honk-honk of Hefei. Suzhou is a center for the silk trade known for its canals and gardens.
We’re two blocks from the inviting streets and canal pathways. And, a short walk from Western food options like Papa John’s and KFC–a welcome relief to many from the predominant fried rice and noodle fare of Hefei.
After settling our goods in the hotel, we visited a nearby ice cream shop (which also served a great hand-squeezed limeade). Then it was time to venture a short taxi ride away to the Number 1 Silk Factory. Wrapping up our silk factory tour at closing time, most of Team RKRS left with a shopping bag in hand. A quick taxi ride back to the hotel and the students went out by fours to explore the walkways, shops and waterways of Suzhou.
Tomorrow we’ll ride the bullet train to tour the 14 million+ city of Shanghai. After a few hours in Shanghai, we’ll head back to Suzhou for our last night in China. The next morning the bus will take us from Suzhou to the Shanghai Airport for our flight home.
Picture this: you’re precariously perched in an immovable position and you need just-the-right-tool to complete your plumbing project. You have to shout verbal directions to someone across the room to help them find that tool.
Now, imagine the role of driving a particular robot on a challenging course and you’re giving it steering commands from a plywood cubby-hole. You’re reading two computer screens and relying on sensors of multiple types to navigate a psuedo-earthquake environment.
For either scenario, having things go awry is a definite possibility.
In the first run of the second day of competition for Team RKRS, one unfortunate wide turn where there happened to be a wall, and, “Uh-oh. Decapitation.” Yes, the robot lost its head, (a key component to navigating the course). The result: no victim(s) were found for the morning competition.
Time to prepare for the afternoon competition. Team RKRS was equipped with spare parts. Shifting into recovery mode, the robot was repaired and readied for the afternoon round of competition. And, it found the victim! The RoboCup – Hefei 2015 competition ended with this second run success on the second day.
Eleven teams participated, Benilde-St. Margaret’s School’s Team RKRS representing as the only secondary high school team. When the scores were tallied, the 95 points earned by Team RKRS secured the tenth position, (ahead of one of the Chinese university teams).
A group photo of all participants and their robots was taken and it was time to transition into disassembling the robot for the start of its long journey home.
Tuesday, July 21
Team RKRS will experience the Hefei Sanhe Ancient Town tour. They will visit a town more than 2,500 years old full of rivers, lakes, bridges and “eight ancient relics” (ancient streets, ancient civilian houses, ancient battlefields, ancient tea houses, ancient rivers, ancient villages surrounded by water, ancient bridges and ancient stages attached to temples).
Wednesday, July 22
The team will travel to the Hefei Wildlife Park in hopes of seeing a Giant Panda up close.
Watch for more blog updates!
Day 3 starts with the RoboCup Hefei Opening Ceremony. Team RKRS enjoyed the audience and up front seating (behind the VIP’s of the event).
Then it was time to fine tune the robot, getting all systems ready to traverse the course.
The official competition began. Team RKRS’s first run on the course: we found the victim!
A great day. A perfect run!
The second day of competition comes tomorrow.