WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - Robots are taking over one Utah city right now.
It’s not a scene from a sci-fi movie — it’s an annual competition among students that started Friday in West Valley City.
COVID-19 may have stopped them last year, but not this time.
These cutting-edge machines, hand-built by high school students, are back for the 12th annual Utah Regional First Robotics Competition.
"These kids work all year building their robots. They’re here to test it out and compete like crazy," said Chelsey Short, the Utah regional director for First Robotics.
The robots’ mission is to gather balls and get them into goals, having only a matter of minutes to do this, while maneuvering around obstacles and fixing problems that pop up in real-time.
"A lot of the time, the robots will break down. You’ll see [the students] in their pits over there wrenching on their robots," Short said.
Forty-two teams are registered for this year’s competition, from Utah and other states across the Intermountain West — with one team even from China.
More females are jumping into the game, too.
We talked with a co-captain from a team from Idaho that’s mostly made up of women.
"I think it’s really inspiring because when I first joined the team, it was really awesome to see other women around my age in positions of leadership," said Reganne Watts, a co-captain from Boise High School. "It’s really important to see someone like yourself doing something like this."
The final rounds of the competition will take place Saturday.
Winners will move on to the nationals in Houston later this month.