The Robots are Coming – student robotics competitions you need to know!

Posted March 28, 2019 by Joshua neubert

Today there are many amazing robotics contests, competitions, tournaments, and awards, unlike when I was in school decades ago when there were 2 or 3 if that. It seems like there are new programs popping up every year. Whether your student likes space, oceans, rovers or even drones, there are great student competitions ready to help them learn and skill up! We try to update our ICS database each year and make sure we have the best of all the competition information included for you. So here’s an updated list of student robotics competitions for the 2019-20 school year.

Many competitions are still finishing up their finals or national programs through May, but it’s never too early to start planning for next year. You’ll find that there are many competitions that have yet to update information for their 2019-20 season. Also note that we’re not including one-off competitions that only happen one year. We’re focusing on keeping track of the annual competitions that happen each year for you. You can see all of the details and notes about each of the competitions in our database with links to their homepages for more details from there. Whether, you’re planning for yourself, your kids, or your classroom, you’ll want to know about these robotics competitions!


Featured Competition: MATE Underwater ROV Competition

For students interested in designing building and operating underwater robotic vehicles. Get involved today in this unique underwater robotics experience where you design, build and operate your own robots to tackle missions modeled after scenarios from the ocean workplace!



From the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics (KIPR):

From FIRST – the well known program for elementary through high school students.

From the AUVSI Foundation (Robonation):

From the Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation

From other organizations:

  • EARLY Robotics Competition – a fairly new competition focused on being an entry-level program for young students to learn robotics and prepare them for future more advanced competitions. Currently just have a couple tournaments listed, but are open to working with schools or organizations to help setup new “neighborhood tournaments.”
  • FIRA RoboWorld Cup – FIRA is most for above BA/BS level students and companies to develop their research in robotic field though robot soccer, but they now have many types of programs (or leagues) for different ages of students.
  • BEST Robotics– large robotics competition for middle and high school students.
  • International Robotics Olympiad – run out of Korea, this competition for K-12 students takes an olympiad style approach to robotic tasks.
  • MATE Underwater ROV Competitionfor students interested in designing building and operating underwater robotic vehicles. Students test them in a live tournament.
  • National Robotics Challengethink of this as robot sumo for students of all ages.
  • RoboCup Challenge – a soccer playing robot competition. Use their standard platform to put in a team!
  • Robofest an event, robot showcase and series of competitions students can join.
  • RoboGames – a large international festival for robotics with competition events for students and adults alike.
  • Sea, Air and Land Challenge – a program from PSU mostly for mid-atlantic region high schools, but involves three types of robotic challenges.
  • Ten80 Student Rover Challenge – a robotic rover competition.
  • Fluid Power Robotics Challenge – students use the power of fluids (hydraulics) to help create interesting robots and perform tasks.
  • Wonder League Robotics Competition – for younger students using the Wonder Robots.
  • Zero Robotics – use a flying robotics platform created from MIT for the Space Station. Students program robots to perform tasks in Zero-G.


If you know of other robotics competitions you would like to see added to the database for future reference, please contact us and let us know!