The FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is a mid-level robotics competition for high-school students. It offers the traditional challenge of a FIRST Robotics Competition but with a more accessible and affordable robotics kit. The ultimate goal of FTC is to reach more young people with a lower-cost, more accessible opportunity to discover the excitement and rewards of science, technology, and engineering.
In 2005, FIRST and RadioShack teamed up to present the FIRST Vex Challenge (FVC) demonstration at the FIRST Championship in Atlanta, GA. The purpose of the FTC demonstration tournament was to stimulate and explore interest in FIRST Vex competitions. The event was an overwhelming success. FIRST began a full pilot of the program during the 2005-2006 FIRST season. After two years as a pilot program, the FIRST Board of Directors approved FTC as an official FIRST program, changing the name to FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) in 2007.
During the first official season, FTC grew to 799 teams and 31 official events, reaching about 8,000 students across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In 2008 a new kit of parts was developed and showcased at the FTC World Championship in Atlanta. The new kit is more powerful and has more options. It also allows for a smoother transition from FLL into FTC by using the same NXT controller FLL teams have been using for a number of seasons. FTC will use the new kit beginning in the 2008 season.