About Us


University of Minnesota Robotics is a student organization at the University of Minnesota. Created September 2009 as GOFIRST Robotics, University of Minnesota Robotics has two major goals: to design and build robots, and to support the FIRST Robotics program in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas. The group currently has teams that compete in the Autonomous Snowplow Competition, VexU, the Nasa Robotic Mining Challenge, FTC-U and BotShot, as well as non-competitive robot builds like Robot in 3 days (RI3D) and Robot in 1 Weekend. The organization mentors teams, volunteers at regional events, and facilitates workshops for students in Minnesota. See our robots page for more information on previous builds, the competitive build page for the team competitions, and GOFIRST outreach for more information on volunteering and outreach.



University of Minnesota Robotics began as GOFIRST Robotics, who officially became a student group on December 3rd, 2009 at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Originally consisting of six students and four robotics teams, the group has seen continued growth and evolution throughout the years. As this growth continued, members of the group naturally wanted to keep building robots with new builds and competitions being added. The group eventually became an offical part of the university as "University of Minnesota Robotics". The group has grown to include 40+ members across 6 projects and competitions and contains members from 11 alumnus teams.

GOFIRST team photo 2010.

GOFIRST Robotics presented the Chairmans, Scouting, and Team Spirit presentations at the December 5th, 2009 MN Splash event on the University of Minnesota campus. During the 2010 competition GOFIRST Robotics mentored teams 1675, 2500, 2175, and 3130. At the Minnesota Pre-Ship Regional members volunteered to inspect the robots to make sure teams would pass inspection at the competitions and put on a mini Chairmans Q&A session. Students attended and volunteered at the Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Midwest regionals volunteering as inspectors, field reset crew, volunteer coordinators, and with their individual FRC teams that attended the regionals.

Highlights Timeline:

2010: GOFIRST Robotics presented the Scouting, Strategy, Team Spirit, Pneumatics, Programming, Marketing Communications, and Other Awards presentations at the December 4th, 2010 MN Splash Event. GOFIRST Robotics members mentored teams 706, 1675, 1816, 2175, 2470, 2500, 2508, 2846, 3130, and 3524.

2011: GOFIRST Robotics organized the first annual Post Kick-off Collaborative Strategic Design Meeting (PoKo) and attended the 2011 St. Louis Championship conferences, participating in the 2011 FIRST Alumni conference.

2012: GOFIRST Robotics organized the first annual Mock Kick-off (MoKo) to help teams start planning out their season before Kick-off, and hosted the first annual Summer Robotics Summit. In addition, GOFIRST Robotics continued their volunteering and mentoring with FRC teams. They also continued their work and development of their own robots.

2013: GOFIRST Robotics delved into FLL outreach by hosting a non-qualifying tournament in partnership with High Tech Kids on February 23rd. GOFIRST Robotics also continued participating in competitive robotics by attending the AUVSI IGVC competition in Rochester, Michigan.

2014: IGVC robot converted for the ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition. Hexacopter project.

2015: The group competes for the 2nd year in the ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition.

2016: The group builds a new robot to compete in the ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition.

2017: GOFIRST Robotics Autonomous Snowplow team designs a new robot, dubbed “Snow Squirrel”, which takes 4th place at the ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition. NASA Remote mining competition team is formed.

2018: GOFIRST Robotics Autonomous Snowplow team takes 1st place at the ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition with their robot Snow Squirrel. VEXU team advances to world competition. NASA RMC team places 11th out of 44 teams their first year of competition.


In January of 2019, the group officially became University of Minnesota Robotics under the Industrial and Systems engineering department. Professor Qie He serves as the groups faculty adviser.