Jun 11 2004

SUPAERO University Wins European Robotics Cup Challenge Using Dassault Systèmes' CATIA V5 Software

Coverage of robotic “rugby” competition to air on French television in coming weeks

Paris, France – June 11, 2004 – They may look like carpet-sweepers, but Shrike and Nemes are in fact sophisticated cyber-athletes, winners of the 2004 European Robotics Cup and vice-champions of the 2004 French Robotics Cup—thanks to the combined talent of young engineers from the prestigious École Nationale Supérieure de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace (Supaéro – National School for Aeronautics & Space) and V5 software from Dassault Systèmes which helped power the university team’s two-robot squad to victory in La Ferté-Bernard on May 19 – 22nd. The students used CATIA V5 to design, test and visualize the robots’ components.

Both robotics competitions will be televised across Europe, with the French Cup appearing in France on the popular E=M6 TV program on June 27th, while the European Cup will be aired on France’s channel 5 in July.

The 16-member winning team hailed from one of Europe’s leading technical and engineering schools, the École Nationale Supérieure de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace, better known as “Supaéro,” located in Toulouse, France. In an almost nine-month long engineering and construction effort, the team used CATIA V5. This is the product design solution from Dassault Systèmes’ PLM offering that allows manufacturers to simulate all the industrial design processes, from the pre-project phase, through detailed design, analysis, simulation, assembly and maintenance.

The use of CATIA V5 software demonstrates just how far the robotics competition has evolved over its 11-year history, during which impassioned volunteer team members have employed increasingly sophisticated technology and know-how to produce ever-more complex robots.

Past competition themes have included Sumo wrestling, basketball and football—and this year’s European Cup theme was “Coconut Rugby”. The game required the robots to scoop ovoid balls from the field or pluck them from two randomly placed “coconut trees”, then "run" the coconuts into scoring zones to earn points.

Supaéro’s robots were the result of thousands of person-hours with the school’s CATIA V5 workstations, in the precision machining shops, at the electronics and computer benches, and on the test field. Shrike, the larger, “offensive” robot, gathered balls from high (the “coconut trees”) and low (the playing surface), scooping them into a funnel-shaped maw and up its belt-driven conveyor. Meanwhile Nemes, the “defensive back”, patrolled Supaéro’s goal zone using its four, furiously windmilling arms to sweep opponents’ balls out of the goal zone and back into play.

The result: Victory! The Supaéro team took the second-place finish in the 2004 French cup and then captured the 2004 European laurels, crowning a school record of achievement in the Cup.

For its part, Dassault Systèmes is pleased to have contributed to such a valuable and entertaining educational test. Licensed CATIA V5 workstations are permanent fixtures at Supaéro, as well as at many other higher education institutes. However, Dassault Systèmes points out that while it contributed these tools and financial sponsorship to the Supaéro effort, in keeping with Cup rules, it supplied no engineering help whatsoever.

A series of documentary videos featuring the making of the robots and team profiles are supplied on the dedicated website: