The ABU Robocon 2024 competition is set to take place on July 14 at Moradok Techo National Stadium, promising to be a landmark event for robotics enthusiasts. Organised by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) in collaboration with the National Television of Cambodia (TVK), the event aims to inspire the new generation.

Prak Maomolin, director of the overseas television information department and chief organiser of the competition, expressed his pride in hosting the event. 

“My team and I have organised this most important and necessary event for the nation, especially for our young people who possess the intelligence to utilise such technology,” said Maomolin.

The competition will feature nine teams from five leading Cambodian institutes and universities, including the National Polytechnic Institute of Cambodia (NPIC), the National Technical Training Institute (NTTI) and the Cambodia Academy of Digital Technology (CADT). 

The teams have been preparing rigorously to showcase their robotic innovations in line with this year’s theme of rice production, which is divided into transplanting, harvesting and storage.

Maomolin highlighted that the national Robocon contest is typically held in June to provide the winning team ample time to refine their robots for the international competition in August, to be hosted by Vietnam this year, continuing the tradition of rotating hosts among participating countries. 

The theme requires participants to create two types of robots: one manually controlled for surveying rice and throwing sacks, and another autonomous robot designed to harvest rice and store it in a silo.

Reflecting on last year’s competition, Maomolin noted the unique challenges and innovations presented when Cambodia hosted the event, which featured robots "showering flowers over the iconic temples of Angkor Wat" and "launching rings onto slender poles". 

Cambodia’s hosting allowed two local teams to participate, whereas this year, only one team will represent the country in Vietnam.

Chak Sokleap, a third-year electronics student at NPIC, expressed his excitement and readiness for the competition. 

Team NPIC 01 prepares their robot for the national segment of the ABU Robocon 2024 competition. Supplied

Sokleap, who leads a team of 10, said, “This year's competition, for me, is about learning new technologies such as AI and autonomous robotic systems, as well as how to work as a team.”

He noted the shift from manual to autonomous systems this year, presenting a new set of challenges and learning opportunities.

As the national competition approaches, expectations are high for the Cambodian teams to perform well and continue their journey to the international stage in Vietnam.

Background on last year’s event

In August 2023, Cambodia hosted the ABU Robocon international competition, where Japan’s Toyohashi University of Technology clinched the top spot, taking home the Grand Prix Award.

The event, organised by TVK, saw fierce competition from 14 teams representing 13 countries and territories, each showcasing unique robotic innovations.

Cambodia’s teams shone brightly on the global stage, with Team One receiving the Toyota Award and Team Two winning the Panasonic Connect Award.

These honours underscored the country’s growing stature in the field of robotics.

The competition, founded in 2002 by the ABU, aims to foster friendship among the next generation of robotics leaders and propel advancements in engineering and broadcasting across the region. 

The competition challenges college teams to complete tasks within specific timeframes, showcasing not just technological prowess but also innovation and teamwork.

Last year’s competition also highlighted the strength of Asian contenders, with Japan securing the Grand Prix, Hong Kong taking the 1st runner-up spot and China and Vietnam jointly securing the 2nd runner-up position.

Additional awards included China’s Best Idea Award, Vietnam’s Best Engineering Award and Hong Kong’s Best Design Award, celebrating various aspects of robotic excellence.