Team 1836: The MilkenKnights claimed the Autonomous Award at the FIRST Robotics Las Vegas Regional held March 27-30. The award is given to a team that has "demonstrated consistent, reliable, high-performance robot operation during autonomously managed actions.” The MilkenKnights robot had the distinction of being the only one capable of placing two Hatch Panel game pieces completely autonomously in the opening 15-second Sandstorm period.
Programmer Alexander Swerdlow ’19 played an instrumental role in the team receiving the award, writing the software that controls the robot and optimized speed and accuracy in a match. “My goal is to focus on higher-level control to automate tasks, especially those that are difficult and time-consuming for a human operator,” explained Swerdlow.
Team members included the Drive Team: Drive Coach Yoel Nozar '19, Driver Mikey Lippman ’21, Operator Alex Swerdlow ’19, Human Player Noah Kugell ’20, and Technician Jeremy Goldenstein ’20. The Pit Crew: led by Aaron Neman ’21 and Talia Gandin ’21, along with Drew Weisserman ’19 and Amelia Marengo ’21. The Scouting team: Marcus Scheer ’21, Jacob Schutzer ’22, Michael Wachsman ’20, and Abby Fischler ’24.
The team started off strong, ending the first day undefeated in eight matches; however, they had some difficulty scoring Hatch Panels on the second day. After winning their first match and losing the second match, they determined that the springs on the hatch mechanism were worn out. After replacing the springs, they were back in business.
Finishing the competition 9-2-0 in qualification matches, the team earned a rank of 7 out of 44. Their average scoring performance was third best overall, which is tied for their best ever. A first draft pick of the 2nd Alliance captain, they lost in the Semifinals in three games. Only one match away from making it to the Finals, they would have qualified for the World Championships in Houston.
On the waitlist lottery for the Championships, the team will find out if they make it in the coming weeks. If they don’t make it in, their season will be over and they will start off-season projects and begin preparations for next year.
“We were disappointed to miss Champs by one match, but we're on a great streak: technical award four events in a row, top offensive robot five events in a row, playoff showing six events in a row,” said Robotics Manager Stephan Shapiro.
“All of the effort that we had put into integrating our controls, mechanisms, and sensors allowed us to be the fastest scorer at the competition and was clearly worth it,” said Swerdlow. “I am very proud of our performance at the regional and I can’t wait to see what the team does in the coming years!”