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Looking back at most successful events of 2018: All-time biggest Robotex brought together participants from 46 countries

The robotics event Robotex International took place for the 18th time in Tallinn from November 30th to December 2nd. Thousands of competitors, students, university students, families and robotics enthusiasts came together to build robots, compete and learn about the most innovative technological developments.

This year’s festival boasted 26 competitions and 2406 competitors (603 of whom were from abroad). 46 countries were represented including Afghanistan, Cyprus, Colombia, Greece, Japan, India, Mali, USA, China and many others. The youngest competitor was 3 years old and the oldest 68. More than 20 000 people visited Robotex. The most exciting competitions were the Entrepreneurial Challenge, Starship Animal Rescue Challenge, Elisa AI Challenge, Taxify Challenge, Girls’ Firefighting Challenge, Tartu University Robots Basketball, TalTech Folkrace Challenge and Insplay challenges to children and youth.

‘It’s great to witness that we are only getting more international and that has brought about the growth in the quality of Robotex. Real talents were participating and every competition offered some challenges to the competitors and referees. We saw exciting moments, fiery debates, the joy of winning and pain of losing. I’m proud that the Estonian robotics community is so solid that we are able to meet the expectations of our visitors and attract influential international media channels and platforms such as the BBC, Forbes Latvia, Arctic Startup, Computable, VentureBeat and RiseTech Media,’ concludes the CEO of Robotex Ave Laas.

The founder of Starship Ahti Heinla said: ‘It was great to see so many people being interested in the exciting things that are being done in Estonia and to see them building robots and competing. Starship once again had a challenge at Robotex, which was inspired by the essence of our package robots. It was delightful to witness more competitors advancing in it this year.’

Robotex hosted the world’s biggest startup challenge for kindergarteners and elementary school students; it was called “Our first startup”. The challenge was organised by Insplay and its purpose was to spark interest in entrepreneurship and robotics. More than 1100 Estonian children and youth presented their startups to mentors through prototypes they had created.

‘Our wish is to inspire children and youth as well as support them on their journey from being technology users toward becoming its creators,’ said Insplay’s CEO Andres Sirel. ‘The children’s startup challenge offers a playful way to learn 21st century skills such as problem solving, teamwork, critical thinking and creativity. We believe that this challenge playfully provided children with their first practical entrepreneurship experience,’ he added.

The 3-day festival in Fair Centre also hosted a technology exhibition in addition to the competitions. Cleveron, Starship, XPRIZE, Insplay and other companies demonstrated their newest technology products and services. The National Institute for Health Development was present with the relational robot Abot, Milrem introduced a self-driving tank, TalTech showcased Iseauto (the first Estonian self-driving vehicle), the student satellite and student product development project PinBall was presented, Cleveron introduced their brand new courier robot, Formula Student showcased the student formula, KNM was present with holograms, at the University of Tartu stand visitors could see and try out ClearBot robots, the fastest camera and the coldest ice-cream.

Simultaneously, the Robotex International Conference “Generation R” took place at Tallinn Creative Hub, bringing together more than 80 speakers and 942 visitors.

The head of the Robotex International Conference Angela Allik concluded: ‘This was the first Robotex International Conference on that scale. Globally renowned opinion leaders shared their knowledge on exciting and relevant topics such as AI, Machine Learning, Data Science, Robots, Cyber Security, Industry 4.0, Logistics, Space Technologies, STEAM Education, Futurism, etc. Additionally, many talks, panel discussions and workshops on robotics, technology and entrepreneurship took place. We are planning to grow this initiative even bigger and, throughout the year, carry out a series of events focusing on robotics, cyber security and innovative technologies, which will be summed up at the next Robotex International Conference taking place on Nov 25th -27th 2019.

Robotex International 2018 was organised by NPO Robotex in cooperation with partners, including Starship, Cleveron, Elisa Eesti, Startup Estonia, City of Tallinn, EAS, the American Embassy, the Embassy of the Netherlands, Proekspert, CDP Technologies, the University of Tartu, Lift99, Workland and Modash.

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