The always captivating ABU Asia-Pacific Robot Contest, widely known as ABU Robocon, wrapped up recently with a spectacular display of technological mastery.

Founded in 2002 by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, this college robot competition has robots vying to complete set tasks within specific timeframes.

But it’s not just about the technology on display. The contest seeks to foster friendship amongst the next generation of robotics leaders and to propel advancements in engineering and broadcasting across the region.

Japan’s Toyohashi University of Technology clinched the top spot, taking home the Grand Prix Award.

Organised by National Television of Cambodia (TVK), the contest saw fierce competition with 14 teams representing 13 countries and territories, each showcasing their unique robotic innovations.

Minister of Information Neth Pheaktra emphasised the importance of embracing the rapid progress in digitalisation and automation.

“These emerging technologies play a pivotal role in enhancing production. They have the potential to empower our human workforce, boosting Cambodia’s productivity and positioning us competitively in the global business sphere,” Pheaktra expressed, speaking from Morodok Techno National Stadium.

Japan’s win reaffirmed their status as a dominant force in robotics. Hot on their heels was Hong Kong in the 1st runner-up spot. China and Vietnam jointly secured the 2nd runner-up position, reflecting the formidable technological expertise of Asian contenders.

But the awards didn’t stop there. China received the Best Idea Award, highlighting their innovative approach in robotics. Vietnam was recognised with the Best Engineering Award for their technical expertise. Meanwhile, Hong Kong was awarded the Best Design Award, acknowledging their combination of aesthetics and functionality.

This year’s host, Cambodia, wasn’t left behind. Their two teams shone brightly, with Team One receiving the Toyota Award and Team Two being lauded with the Panasonic Connect Award.

Such honours highlight the nation’s escalating stature on the global robotics stage.

Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Heng Sour, who attended the event, said: “This platform lets students from various nations showcase their tech skills while sharing invaluable experiences. It’s pivotal in motivating our youth to truly embrace technological advancements”.

Ahmed Nadeem, the secretary-general of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, shared in the excitement, especially after the contest’s return post a pandemic pause.

“We’re thrilled to be celebrating ABU Robocon’s 22nd anniversary this year. After a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic, it’s invigorating to reconnect in person and witness the incredible talent of students from around the globe,” Nadeem enthused.

The National Robot Competition in Cambodia celebrated its 10th anniversary with great enthusiasm.

Khim Vuthy, the director general of the national broadcaster TVK, highlighted its importance, stating: “This competition has been an invaluable platform. It’s offered our students the opportunity to not only delve deep into their technological passions but also to showcase their skills on both regional and international stages”.

Vuthy was quick to commend the determination of local teams, whose consistent performances in regional tournaments since 2017 were instrumental in enabling Cambodia to host ABU ROBOCON 2023.

These achievements speak volumes about Cambodia’s dedication to scaling the heights of technological innovation.

This year’s ABU ROBOCON presented a set of unique challenges. Teams were tasked with creating robots “showering flowers over the iconic temples of Angkor Wat” and “launching rings onto slender poles”.

The competition was intense. Teams grappled with designing robots that could not only deftly toss rings onto slender poles but also do so with precision, a challenge that tested their technical prowess, inventive thinking, and problem-solving skills.

The contest was also a visual feast. Nimble robotic elephants traversed the peripheries of Angkor Wat, while agile robotic rabbits manoeuvred the temple’s terraces.

It was more than just a competition; it was a festival, celebrating the confluence of technology, innovation, and international camaraderie in the expansive and inclusive realm of robotics.

Pang Nath, TVK’s deputy director general and the brains behind the robotics competition, commented on Cambodia’s position in the contest.

While the local teams didn’t clinch a formal ranking owing to the stiff and advanced competition, it was heartening to see local teams being honoured with special accolades.

These awards, bestowed by fellow competitors, were a testament to the nation’s unwavering commitment and substantial contributions to the global robotics domain.

Nath mentioned to The Post: “In terms of rankings, Cambodia stood shoulder to shoulder with more technologically advanced nations”.

ABU ROBOCON 2023 is set to leave an indelible mark in the story of Cambodia’s technological development.

The event was a celebration of the vast potential in the realm of robotics. Beyond the competition, it sparked a lasting passion for innovation and teamwork, signalling a promising technological future for the region.