Zero Robotics

Zero Robotics, led in Australia by the University of Sydney's Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, is one of the world's biggest computer programming competitions. It is a robotics programming competition which challenges participants to test their coding skills on NASA robots known as SPHERES (Synchronized, Position, Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites) aboard the International Space Station. Teams from high schools around the world program the SPHERES to solve challenges.

Zero Robotics 2017/18


The Zero Robotics Competition 2017 contains a 3 round (Australia only) preliminary competition and a 4 phase international competition.

The Preliminary Competition is based on the SpySPHERES game and gives students the chance to compete against each other in three separate round robin competitions over three weeks.  This is designed to give them the chance to develop their coding skills, learn how to work together as a team and begin to understand the tactical side of the game.

The International Competition will be announced in early September with students invited to a workshop at The University of Sydney to extend the skills that they learned during the preliminary competition.  The first phase of the competition is a simulation round in 2D.  To pass this round students must produce working code capable of scoring points against a stock opponent.  Successful teams will enter phase 2, which is a worldwide 3D competition which will see some teams eliminated from the competition.  However, there will be a concurrent ‘virtual finals’ competition, giving teams a second chance to reach the ISS.

The third phase of the competition is the alliance phase.  Successful teams will be able to partner with two other teams from around the world to form alliances.  These alliances will collaborate on a single piece of code, and compete in an elimination Semi Final Competition.

Finally, the best teams have their code run on the real SPHERES aboard the International Space Station.  This event will be live streamed to MIT, an ESA site and The University of Sydney.

Zero Robotics Competition Timeline