The Challenge – Ocean Opportunities

Every year millions of tons of pollutants, generated by human activity, make their way into the world’s oceans, negatively affecting marine life and global populations. The 2019 FIRST Global Challenge brings attention to this critical issue in order to educate ourselves and take action to preserve our oceans and wildlife. This year teams will learn about real-world challenges related to cleaning up the world’s oceans.


In Ocean Opportunities, two competing alliances, each comprised of three teams from different nations, work to clear the ocean of pollutants. Cleanup Crews have two (2) minutes and thirty (30) seconds to collect pollutants, deliver them to processing areas, and finally remove their robots, also known as collectors, from the ocean.


Prior to the start of the match, each side of the playing field is covered in pollutants randomly distributed. A total of thirty (30) micro pollutants and fifty (50) macro pollutants, represented by small and large foam balls, litter the ocean. Cleanup Crews score points by transferring pollutants to two types of processing areas located in the ocean—the processing barge and the reduction processing hub.

The processing barge, located in the center of the ocean, is divided into to a blue alliance side and a red alliance side. Collectors score points by depositing pollutants on the three levels, each representing different degrees of processing. As the levels progress from lowest to highest, the point value increases.

  • Recovery – the lowest level, where pollutants are removed from the ocean and contained in an alternative environment
  • Recycle – the middle level, where pollutants are converted into new products
  • Reuse – the highest level, where pollutants are reused for their original purpose


Reduction processing hubs, one for each alliance, are located in the corners of the ocean. Collectors score points by depositing pollutants into these zones. Human players can assist their alliance in cleaning the ocean by retrieving pollutants from the reduction processing hub and loading them onto alliance collectors.


Additional points can be earned for each collector that removes itself from the ocean at the end of the match by docking on the processing barge.

  • Partially docked collectors are in contact with the processing barge ramp
  • Fully docked collectors are fully supported by the processing barge ramp and do not touch the ocean
  • Elevated docked collectors hang from a rail surrounding the recycle level of the processing barge and are not in contact with the ocean or ramp


While each nation is responsible for keeping its own shoreline clear of pollutants, they must join forces to protect the ocean. The only way to take on this challenge is for nations to work together towards this common goal. Cleanup Crews that collaborate to remove all pollutants from the ocean by the end of the match each receive a Coopertition Bonus.


The alliance that scores the most points by the end of the match is declared the winner of that match.