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Ford-Backed Springbots Earn Honors at FIRST Robotics World Championships

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Ford Springbots FIRST Robotics World Championship
Photo: Ford Motor Company

The Springbots, a team consisting on eight South African youngsters aged 15-18, nabbed the Rookie Inspiration Award at the FIRST Robotics World Championships in Detroit last month. The team is funded in part by Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, who helped pay the way for the team to make it to the United States for the competition.

“We are honored to have represented South Africa at the Championships and would like to thank Ford for truly giving us mobility by enabling us to travel to the U.S. as the first team from South Africa to participate at the FIRST Robotics World Championships,” said Springbots Team Manager Roxanne Reddy.

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Though the Springbots were marking their first appearance at the FIRST Robotics World Championships, this was not their first rodeo. In March, the team took home the Rookie All-Star Award at a competition in Sydney, Australia. The Springbots also oversee a mentorship program, #STEMSquad, to help offer tutelage to underprivileged children. The effort to provide disadvantaged kids with an introduction to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics has paid off to the extent that three of the tutees are now members of the team.

“Ford is a company founded on the concept of innovation and mobility, and we are delighted to have been able to support this initiative,” said Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa Managing Director Neale Hill. “The fact that this program incorporates a significant community involvement from the Springbots makes it even more appealing.”

The annual FIRST Robotics World Championships brings in teams from around the globe and pits their robots against challenges meant to test their capabilities. FIRST, which stands for Ford Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, was founded by Segway inventor Dean Kamen in 1989.

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