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FirstĀ® Robotics Competition

FIRST® Robotics Competition
Greater Pittsburgh Regional

March 27-29

Cal U Convocation Center Arena

WATCH the FIRST Robotics competition at 5:30 p.m. April 5 on KDKA-TV


More than 1,000 students in grades 9-12 will put their custom-built robots to the test at the Greater Pittsburgh Regional FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) March 27-29 in the Cal U Convocation Center Arena.

In all, 48 teams are registered compete in this year’s challenge, Aerial AssistSM.

Students practice and robots are inspected on March 27. Competition is held March 28-29; opening ceremonies begin at 8:30 p.m. See the schedule

Admission is free, and fans are encouraged to root for their favorite teams.

This year’s FRC challenge

Aerial AssistSM is played on a flat 25’ x 54’ field, straddled by a truss suspended about 5 feet above the floor. Two “alliances” of three robots each face off and try to move as many balls as possible into the high and low goals. Cooperative play earns additional points during the fast-paced 30-second (autonomous) and 2-minute (remote control) matches. 

See Aerial Assist on video

What is the FIRST Robotics Competition?

Founded in 1989, FIRSTFor Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — encourages young people to explore science, technology, engineering and math in an environment that blends sports-style competition with mentorship and cooperation.

The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC®) hosted by California University is a varsity Sport for the Mind™ designed for students in grades 9-12. Teams from across Pennsylvania, as well as teams from Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada, are registered to compete.

This year’s challenge and game rules were announced Jan. 4. Each robot has been designed and built in just six weeks, beginning with a common “kit of parts” provided to each team. Mentors — typically engineers and/or previous FIRST competitors — provide expert advice and support for each team of students. 

Winners of regional events are eligible to compete in the FIRST Championship, held April 23-26 in St. Louis, Mo.

See the registered teams and their sponsors


Vehicles transporting team members and equipment may park in the River Lot (4) and in the Vulcan Garage (22).

Spectators may park in the Vulcan Garage, off Third Street near the campus entrance.

Shuttles will operate from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. March 28 and 7 a.m.-6 p.m. March 29.

Upcoming events

Visit the Cal U Convocation Center, where the robots come out to play!

  • April 25-26 — 2014 Southwestern Pennsylvania BotsIQ Finals
    Pairs of robots custom-built by more than 60 teams of high school students battle it out inside the arena.
    8 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Convocation Center Arena

  • April 25 — 2014 NFPA Fluid Power Challenge
    Teams from 25 area middle schools compete to build a fluid-powered hydraulic system that will accomplish a specific task.
    8 a.m.-2 p.m. in the South Conference Wing

Watch these broadcast specials on KDKA-TV:

  • April 5, 5:30 p.m. — FIRST Robotics Competition, presented by Cal U
  • April 19, 7:30-8 p.m. — Technology Today with KDKA 
  • May 3, 7:30-8 p.m. — BotsIQ, presented by Cal U


FIRST and the FIRST logo are registered trademarks.


See a FIRST robot cut the ribbon to begin the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Robot cuts ribbon at Thanksgiving Parade - links to video.


Learn more about Cal U

Get directions to Cal U

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Robotics at Cal U

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Link to schedule for First Robotics event.