And it’s on for 5 days of tests!

Monday, April the Fourth, Lacq (64), 8 o’clock in the morning: competitors, organizers, members of the jury, technical staff….everyone is ready to start this second competition. Robots passed with flying colors their homologation process last Friday. The program of the day: oral session with the jury and test session at the competition site.

The Japanese team is the first to go through those tests. After the results of the first competition in June 2015, the team AIR-K redesigned its robot to make it more compact, and lighter. A risky bet at this stage of the competition. We asked AIR-K the reason for such a change in their strategy. “The answer is simple, replied Keiji, AIR-K team’s coordinator. Our first prototype was way too big and heavy. We tried to put ourselves in the operator’s shoes. What is he expecting of this robot? That it may be easy to use, to transport, that it doesn’t become a burden…. We then considerably reduced the size and weight of the robot, now at 32 kgs, without making compromises on its functionalities and performances.”

Teams are also presenting their technical progress. The jury will be keeping an eye on how projects are advancing and analyzing the solutions devised to meet the ATEX standard. As emphasized by Alain Goulois, President of the jury: "The main objective of the ARGOS Challenge is to design robots capable of operating in potentially explosive atmospheres. ATEX certification is a priority today and a prerequisite for any assessment of the robot's future potential in the oil and gas industry." Finally, the jury is testing today a new function: the robot's capacity to return to its docking station to recharge its batteries.