FIRST Unveils New Season Challenge, RAPID REACT presented by the Boeing Company, for FIRST Robotics Competition Teams as Part of FIRST FORWARD presented by Qualcomm Season

Full Details of Transportation-Inspired Challenge Unveiled to Nearly 100,000 High School Students Worldwide at the 2022 FIRST® Robotics Competition Season Kickoff


  • More than 3,200 teams tuned in for the virtual live broadcast of the 2022 FIRST® Robotics Competition Kickoff presented by Ford
  • Students competing in 26 countries will be supported by nearly 26,000 STEM educators, professionals and supporters


MANCHESTER, N.H., January 8, 2022 – FIRST®, a robotics community that prepares young people for the future, launched the 2022 FIRST® Robotics Competition season today with the unveiling of a new challenge called RAPID REACTSM presented by the Boeing Company. The 2022 FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff presented by Ford was broadcast live from Manchester, New Hampshire, the hometown of FIRST headquarters, and was virtually attended by more than 100,000 students from around the world. An estimated 80,600 students on more than 3,200 teams are expected to participate in this year’s program.

Chris Moore, CEO of FIRST, was officially introduced to the community and encouraged students to be empowered, inclusive, and creative throughout the season. “Our society needs a new generation of thinkers and innovators to solve problems and make life better for millions, and that generation is you,” said Moore. “FIRST might give you the rules and the resources, but it’s up to you to transform them into something more – and to transform yourself in the process. FIRST will challenge you, it will change you, and it will show you what you’re truly capable of, all with our global, supportive community behind you.”

RAPID REACT is part of the 2022 FIRST season, FIRST® FORWARDSM presented by Qualcomm. Inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #9, FIRST FORWARD challenges students to think about overcoming transportation challenges, re-imagine the future, and empowers them to develop the technological innovations that will drive our society forward.

In RAPID REACT, teams re-imagine the future of safe and high-speed transport, rushing to load critical cargo and propel the evolution of transportation forward. Robots begin on their respective tarmacs and are preloaded with cargo, and once “cleared for takeoff,” can deliver their payloads and collect additional cargo for delivery. Robots can receive assistance from human players at the terminal and can earn points for reaching various hanger rungs before the match is over.

“As Boeing builds the future of aerospace, we are committed to supporting STEM programs like FIRST that build a brighter future for students. Hands-on science and engineering experiences can inspire students to become the next generation of science and technology innovators working to tackle pressing societal challenges,” said Leanne Caret, President and CEO, Boeing Defense, Space & Security and FIRST board member. “We’re thrilled to be the RAPID REACT game sponsor and look forward to seeing what these remarkable students will accomplish in 2022 and beyond.”

At today’s Kickoff, teams were shown the RAPID REACT game field and challenge details for the first time and received the Kickoff Kit, which is made up of motors, batteries, control system components, construction materials, and a mix of additional automation components – with limited instructions. Each team receives a Kit of Parts supported by 61 FIRST suppliers, and delivered by long-time supporter and Strategic Partner, FedEx.

Working with adult mentors, students have limited time to design, build, program, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. Once these young inventors build a robot, their teams will participate beginning in late February in one or more of the global 159 Regional and District events that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.

Teams also received a message from Star Wars actors Hayden Christensen, Kelly Marie Tran, and Ming-Na Wen inviting the FIRST community to share how they’re using their STEM skills to be forces for good in their communities, breaking down boundaries, and creating a more accessible and inclusive world. Team stories will be featured in Build the Future powered by Star Wars: Force for Change, a joint initiative by FIRST, Disney, and Lucasfilm.

By participating in FIRST, students gain confidence to explore the innovation process while learning valuable science, engineering, technology, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Students also learn and apply the FIRST ethos of Gracious Professionalism® via a signature set of FIRST Core Values.

Participants and Alumni of FIRST programs gain access to exclusive scholarships, internships, and other opportunities that create connections and open pathways to a wide variety of careers.

To learn more about the FIRST FORWARD season and how to participate, visit


About FIRST®
FIRST® is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured afterschool programs. Boosted by a global support system of volunteers, educators, and sponsors that include over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, teams operate under a signature set of FIRST Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, build, and showcase their achievements during annual challenges. An international not-for-profit organization founded by accomplished inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST has a proven impact on STEM learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school. Alumni of FIRST programs gain access to exclusive scholarships, internships, and other opportunities that create connections and open pathways to a wide variety of careers. Learn more at