Paramount Group launches ‘Parabotics’ robotics competition


    The Parabotics competition will enable young learners to be educated and trained on how to build and program desktop-scale robots.

    Paramount Group, an African-based global defence and aerospace business, proudly announces the launch of an excitingly new annual robotics competition entitled ‘Parabotics’, a contest (commencing in January, with finals scheduled for December) open to high school pupils, college students and university undergraduates from all across South Africa.

    The Parabotics competition will enable young learners to be educated and trained on how to build and program world-class, desktop-scale robots, while being encouraged to pursue tertiary education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

    Announced at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) Exhibition 2018, Parabotics is a Paramount Group initiative hosted in partnership with the Technology Localisation and Implementation Unit (TLIU) and the AAD Youth Development Programme (YDP). The Parabotics partnership will also include a year-long training programme, initiated annually for previously disadvantaged youth, whereby they will receive support and training in electronics, programming and robotics.

    At the YDP pavilion, which forms part of the AAD Exhibition, students will learn how to build and program a desktop-scale robot to autonomously navigate through a maze. In addition to preparation guidance for said competition, Parabotics-provided training in electronics and mechatronics will equip South African youth with next-generation skills in automation and control, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), technologies today required to meet the challenges and opportunities born from the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).

    Alison Crooks, CEO of Paramount Industrial Holdings, stated: “We wanted South African youth from all across the nation to be able to participate in an open source hardware robotics competition like no other, which means also delivering training and opportunity to remote parts of the country. South Africa may be an emerging market, but we can be world-class in every way; through the boons of the fourth industrial revolution, today we have the potential to effectively leapfrog the west in technological proficiency. If one just looks at the products that Paramount Group has on show at AAD 2018, they are miles ahead, in certain cases, than similar products available from our first-world competitors.”

    The YDP will transport over 1 000 youth to the AAD Exhibition 2018 from all parts of South Africa, being brought in by air, train and bus, made possible through generous sponsorships. Members of the public are encouraged to not only watch the flying displays, but especially to bring their children to the AAD Youth Development Pavilion where they will be able to meet members of the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Engineering and learn more about the Parabotics Africa competition, how they can follow along at home, build the robot, and enter.