Westhampton Beach Robotics Team Competing at World Championships

human arm and robot arm crossed
Humans are still needed for good robotics, Photo: Chinnasorn Pangcharoen/123RF

The Westhampton Beach High School FIRST Robotics Team 3171 is competing at the World Championships in Detroit from April 24–28 against entries from the U.S. and dozens of foreign countries. Westhampton Beach won that right at the Long Island Robotics Championship at Hofstra University two weeks ago.

They built their robot from scratch in six weeks, as required. Their robot finds boxes, puts them onto a scale and then, at the end, climbs a tower.

Robots have lost a battle, too. Elon Musk, the head of Tesla, has announced that his decision to have an almost totally robotic assembly line build the Tesla Model 3 was wrong. His earlier Teslas, celebrated for their quality, were built by humans and robots together.

The Tesla 3s have been rolling out. But over and over again, critics have complained about their quality. In addition, robotic breakdowns on the assembly lines caused them to produce only 500 cars a week instead of the expected 2,500.

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Musk has been sleeping on a couch at the factory.

“It’s production hell (and) worse than I thought,” he told CBS. “We have this crazy complex network of conveyor belts and it was not working so we got rid of that whole thing.”

He also tweeted: “Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”

Wait a minute. He’s human. It’s the human making the mistake? Did he not just contradict himself?

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