The latest workshop for European Robotics Week (ERW) National Coordinators (NCs) took place online last month. This time the NCs were asked to think about new and creative ways to deliver virtual events that remained engaging for participants.  

One of the key themes to emerge in response was to bring out the ’European’ aspect of ERW by combining events in several countries. This also sparked some thinking about a Europe-wide robotics competition with a part in-person hybrid element, in which finalists’ code could be run at a central physical location – racing autonomous cars was suggested as a suitable ’vehicle’ (pun intended) for this. Of course, the European Robotics Leagues (ERL) already exist and, as euRobotics secretary-general Reinhard Lafrenz pointed out during the workshop, the association has made it an objective to make more of ERL. SmartCities and Robocup are just two such competitions. So ERW organisers and euRobotics will certainly want to explore opportunities to make the most of what’s already there.  

There was support within the workshop for a Europe-wide activity which could be delivered locally (that is, nationally) but coordinated by euRobotics. Peer-to-peer collaboration between two or more NCs was another possibility. Madhumalti Sharma (Luxembourg) and Marianne Andersen (Denmark) are already planning to collaborate in a joint activity for ERW. Fiorella Operto (Italy) suggested linking ERW events with other existing events, such as the Maker Fair in Rome.  

The workshop participants exchanged ideas via a Miro board, which since the start of the pandemic has become a workshop collaboration tool of choice. It was clear from the level of enthusiasm that those who took part had welcomed the chance to get together with fellow NCs. A follow-up workshop will be held next month, date to be agreed.