Robothon® – competition for the future

Premiere 2021

The Robothon® is a new software and hardware development competition launched by munich_i. Robothon® is derived from the terms robot and marathon and confronts the participating teams with a challenge that has so far remained unsolved – the so-called Grand Challenge. The aim is to demonstrate the greatest performance possible today using state-of-the-art methods.

The Robothon® is aimed at young international robotics enthusiasts. About 10 teams will take on the Grand Challenge, which they must solve using the latest robotic manipulation methods. In the process, the teams will assemble and disassemble components on a modified task board. The Grand Challenge 2021 is about finding solutions for the fight against environmental pollution.

Due to Covid-19, an online-only concept has been developed for this year's Robothon®. As a result, international teams also have an opportunity to participate in the 2021 challenge with their own robot platforms.



  • Premiere
    From May 14 to June 14, teams will develop solutions based on an AI and robotics platform and present them online on June 15 and 16, 2021.
  • Highly remunerated
    Prize money of up to EUR 20,000 awaits the participating teams.
  • Challenging
    Compete with young international teams and develop solutions to a pressing problem.

The Grand Challenge 2021

This year's task is one of the industry's most complex unsolved challenges in the fight against environmental pollution: the disassembly and separation of electronic waste. Automated dismantling and separation would enable manufacturers to make their recycling processes much more sustainable. In order for this to succeed, participants in the competition are to develop a strategy on how to enable a robot to autonomously recognize, grasp and manipulate loose components in a new production environment. Teams may use their own robot platforms to solve the task. In the run-up to the event, participants received a task board specifically modified for the 2021 challenge. At the time of the official start at May 14, the specific task with five challenging levels were distributed along with a scorecard.

Teams have four weeks to develop a solution strategy. In addition to the solution approach, the execution of the tasks and the speed will also be evaluated.

The top teams will receive virtual awards at the newly created munich_i high-tech summit on June 22, 2021.

Did you know?

  • Most insertion and assembly tasks are still performed manually by humans.
  • Every year, 20 to 50 million tons of e-waste are discarded worldwide and only 12.5 % of that is recycled.
  • 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered from one million recycled cell phones.

The panel of judges at Robothon® 2021

A panel of judges consisting of top-level experts from the world of AI and robotics will pick the winners. The chairmanship is shared between:

  • Prof. Dr. Tamim Asfour – Head of the Chair for High-Performance Humanoid Technologies at the Faculty of Computer Science at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Prof. Dr. Gerhard Hirzinger – Leibniz Prize winner and former head of the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics in Oberpfaffenhofen
  • Prof. Dr. Patrick van der Smagt – AI specialist and head of the Data Lab at Volkswagen AG.

Robothon® information

Dates May 14 – June 14, 2021: Start of Robothon® and commencement of work on the solution
June 15 & 16, 2021: Presentation to the panel of judges
June 22, 2021: Award ceremony
Special Award ceremony with panel of judges & sponsors will take place on June 22 during the high-tech summit
Language English
Admission Registration on the automatica sprint online digital platform
Participant information For more information, visit

With the kind support of our sponsor

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