The 2019 edition of the Pan-African Robotics Competition (PARC) has ended in Accra. Zimbabwe, Gambia, Ghana and Senegal emerged winners of the four major categories against competition from other 20 plus countries including the United States of America representing the diaspora.
The 5th edition of the competition, held in Ghana, started from Dakar, Senegal in 2015. This year’s competition brought together students from middle school, high school and universities from the various countries to compete for gold and develop new technologies that will help solve some of Africa’s problems.
The participating countries included Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Djibouti, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Lesotho, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, United States of America (diaspora) and Zimbabwe.
At the end of the four-day event on July 6 held under the theme, ‘Solving Challenges: The making of African Smart Cities’, Zimbabwe emerged winner in the Techs League, Gambia was first in the Stars League, Ghana was first in the Makers League and Senegal emerged winners for the Engineers league.
According to the 2019 coordinator for the PARC, Fatima Kebe, each level is given their own challenge based off a problem in Africa.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Central University College of Ghana – the venue for the competition – Professor John Ofosu-Anim emphasized the importance of the competition, stating that “robots will soon be able to read massive written information and be able to assist professionals like Doctors and Lawyers to arrive at more informed decisions and Africa should not be left out of the increasing importance of robots.”
Impact of Robotics
He also stressed the great impact robots are able to make in various aspects of human lives, including medicine, agriculture, surveillance, construction and education.
“It is important for African countries to take advantage of this great resource in the light of the speedy life and increased consumption as well as the rate of expansion of cities in Africa thereby creating the need for balance in their management. Robots are believed to be a great tool for this balance,” he said.
The PARC was created to challenge African students to devise solutions for the planning, design, management and transformation of future African cities in an increasingly complex urban environment using science and technology.
Topics explored include Artificial Intelligence, smart and renewable energy, cybersecurity, driverless cars, citizen design and cognitive computing, smart transportation among others.
- These smart vehicles were made in Africa by students of Uganda’s Makerere University [Photos]
- Meet the 19-year-old Betelhem Dessie, the tech genius coding at Artificial Intelligence lab
- Meet the Ghanaian engineer behind the design of NASA’s Mars rovers
Many African countries have taken a keen interest in robotics competitions and have gone further to win international events. An all-girls team from Ghana in May won the topmost position at the World Robofest Championship in the United States by beating teams from the United States, Mexico, Egypt, South Korea and dozens of others.
Named Team Acrobot, the nine girls from the Methodist Girls’ High School in the Eastern Region of Ghana dominated the 10 broad and challenging categories of the championship held from May 16 to 18 at the Lawrence Technological University (LTU), Southfield, Michigan, and won the hearts of their country.