This challenge is to transport a 1 ton load from the North Pole to the South Pole.

Flight is not permitted nor is any assistance from other parties en route nor any replenishment of fuel or other supplies save water to the extent it is found on the route.

The load is non–metallic with dimensions of 2m x 2m x 1.5m.

The whole transportation system chosen for this task must start at the North Pole; no supply dumps or equipment drops are permitted.

Teams may choose any equipment and route and any schedule (but the journey must be completed within 12 months of the start). However the overall scoring will take into account the elegance and efficiency (including cost) of the design of the transportation system and the overall solution.

Overland routes may include existing roads and bridges but not harbour facilities.

Teams may assume that their chosen transportation system whatever its size, is delivered to the North Pole and do not have to plan for or describe such delivery.

In investigating their solution Teams should consider carefully the trade-offs between automated/robotic techniques and those more dependent upon humans.

The machinery proposed to meet the challenge must be described in detail with all major components clearly identified. Simple loading calculations should be provided to demonstrate that the machinery is sufficiently robust to transport the load. Power requirements should be assessed and sources described.

Because numbers are at the heart of engineering, teams should include simple calculations which give confidence in the viability of the elements of the solution.

An element of automated/robotic operation is encouraged in solutions. The principal functions should be described by simple Functional Flow Block Diagrams (FFBDs) which could be the basis for developing appropriate algorithms and software coding (though these are not required in the solution).

Also describe the basic functionality of any communication links.

Your proposal should include the following:

a) A transportation strategy which explains why you have chosen your selected method and the factors and trade-offs which lead you to that decision.
b) An overall transportation system description defining all the components and explaining how they interface with each other.
c) A detailed description of the mechanical and electrical design defining all the elements supported by basic calculation.
d) A description of any automated/robotic control and communication design, defining all the elements, including computational devices, supported by simple FFBDs.
e) Schedule and cost.


The competition is open to first year sixth form (Year 12) teams. Teams may be of any size provided they can function as an effective team.


Overall presentation 10
General Strategy 15
Overall Transportation Description1 20
Mechanical and Electrical Design Description 25
Control and Communication Design Description 20
Cost and Schedule 10
Total 100

1 Half the marks will depend upon the elegance of your solution.


First Prize:              £500
Second Prizes:       £300
Third Prizes            £200

Plus Merit Awards of £100 for runners up who have addressed all the requirements and presented a cogent, comprehensive submission.


Design solutions will be judged by Richard Blott and Charles Matthews with the support and advice from relevant experts.


8th October 2018: Entry Closing Date.

Register Competition Entry by emailing your intention to participate, the school point of contact and team description (number and if possible names) to

Friday 22nd February 2019: Closing date for submissions.

See ‘FINAL PROJECT PLAN PRESENTATION FORMAT’ below for submission details.

Saturday 23rd March 2019: Final Assessment & Prize Giving.

For the Final Assessment teams will be asked to present their solutions and address questions concerning their submissions. The final selection of winners will be based on both the Final project Plan Presentations and an assessment of this activity.


Your Design Solution is an opportunity to present complex issues imaginatively so that they can be clearly understood and are supported by sufficient evidence to establish their credibility.

Design Solutions are to be uploaded to for judging in a PDF format which can be presented in 30 minutes.

The PDF file should not exceed 20 MB. Animations or computer assisted designs (CAD), if any, must be embedded in the file so that they can be viewed with standard Microsoft office programmes. Video up to 5 minutes long may be included if linked to YouTube.

As a general guideline, depending upon the number of illustrations and assuming a size 12 font for text, you should expect to present your solution within 70 pages. (The average from past competitions is 56 with a range from 17 to 141.)


Teams intending to participate in the competition should note the general rules and conditions covering our competitions which can be found on

Requests for clarification about any aspect of the Competition before or during it should be emailed to We will aim to reply within 24 hours.

If schools request, Richard & Charles will endeavour to visit to introduce themselves, review the requirements and the programme and offer tips on how to avoid pitfalls and answer any questions.


After the judging and prize awards the project presentations will be available on for public viewing.


Richard Blott and Charles Matthews are engineers who seek to increase student awareness of the opportunity, satisfaction and rewards in professional engineering.

See for their personal details and general competition information.