UTRA is the face of robotics at the University of Toronto. We design and build robots to compete in international competitions like RoboGames and the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition, among others. We have five different subteams that work independently and also host talks and workshops. Our mission is to foster interest in robotics and teach anybody who is interested all that they need to know to be able to contribute.
The U of T Robotics Association (UTRA) was created in the fall of 2004 by four engineering students passionate about building robots. Inspired by the spectacle of BattleBots—a thrilling show in which contestants build robots to engage in all-out battle—the founding group of UTRA students set their sights on Combat Robotics. After a few years of training and team development, UTRA battled at RoboGames for the first time in 2006. In the following years, they made many appearances and won several gold and bronze medals in the process.
With the momentum of success at RoboGames, UTRA expanded to new projects—the Autonomous Firefighter Robot and RoboSoccer—and it obtained space and partnerships with external organizations, such as TD and the Engineering Society. UTRA joined with UTAIR, the U of T Artificial Intelligence and Robotics club, to work together on the Firefighter project, while Combat remained UTRA’s flagship team.
In 2008, under new leadership, UTRA established the Sumo program, fostering spirited in-house competition among teams and a strong learning experience for beginners. In a consolidation of the Firefighter and RoboSoccer teams, the Autonomous Rover Team (ART) was founded, and ART has since built a fully functional autonomous rover and participated in several international competitions.
In 2010, recognizing the rapid advances in 3D printing and their importance to manufacturing and other fields, UTRA created a fourth team dedicated to this technology. Initially coined the RepRap team, UTRA 3DP built a Mini-Kossel 3D Printer and continues to keep up with the most recent developments in the field. Finally, in 2014, UTRA initiated the Top Secret Project, rounding out the five subteams that the club is comprised of today.