National Instruments Accelerates STEM Education Through A Robotics Competition

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is in National Instruments’ DNA. NI is passionate about accelerating STEM education through impactful partnerships, employee volunteerism, and technology donations.

In 2018, one of NI Malaysia’s key STEM initiatives was the NI Autonomous Robotics Competition (NI ARC) – Malaysia edition. The competition was designed to encourage learning, development and innovation among students in the field of robotics.

11 teams comprising Universiti Sains Malaysia students participated in this competition that spanned five months. At the end of that duration, there was a Malaysian final that was co-hosted by NI and USM. The winning team went on a NI-sponsored trip to compete in the grand finals in Sydney, Australia.

Last year’s theme was “Fast Track to the Future” and the robots were expected to complete tasks such as going through hazardous terrain, bumps, avoiding obstacles all while optimizing performance to maximize efficiency with the objective of earning the most points.

After last year’s resounding success and interest from the academia, NI Malaysia is organizing the NI ARC again and it’s open to more universities and number of teams. Themed “Planet Exploration – Mars Exploration Program”, participants are required to design and program the hardware to gather specific materials for research, both autonomously and manually in a specific duration – all with the intent to determine if Mars could support life, to study the geology of the planet and to help prepare for human exploration. The competition is ongoing and the finals will be held in November.

NI takes pride in engaging in strategic, long-term collaborations with organizations in the communities where the company’s employees work and live, to fuel innovation and discovery among youth and inspire them to pursue careers in engineering and science. An initiative like the NI ARC provides NI employees to get involved to become the technical advisors, mentors, judges and others so it truly is a well-rounded opportunity for both the company and employees to contribute back to the community.