winner of anniversary Robotour is Kamaro Engineering!
The 10th year of Robotour contest, which took place in Písek, had several specials. There were several runs directly in the city, i.e. not only park roads. And the biggest surprise was victory of new German team from Karlsruhe!
There were nine teams registered and also nine teams actively participated . In reality instead of AmBot, which had serious troubles the day before contest and its participation canceled, started another German team JECC2. There was only one Robotour novice this year: team Kamaro Engineering, which we met on contest Field Robot Event 2015. To be honest I was not quite sure if they will come. But they did, their robot moved and with a bit of luck they won the contest!
It would not be the group from Písek, if they would not prepare something special. There were prepared quite challenging sections, in excuse that 10th year desires something extra. The runs were partially in parks, i.e. on park roads, but also on normal street, cobbles and surfaces with various colors. There was even cemetery, or better „reverential place”, where I was a bit uncomfortable, but there were also weddings and youngsters played there football, so the robots behaved with more respect to the deceased.
Another tricky place was a pedestrian bridge with wheelchair accessible slope to an island. And if you think that this is was it, what about passageway through house, which leads from the square to park „Palackého sady”? This is the big park you may know from Robotem rovně contest. What pleased me was the fact that no team complained. Just the opposite, several teams priced highly this city tour.
0th and 1st Run
Zero run, where we review start procedure, was surprisingly not that chaotic as previous years. The start and goal was then the same also for the first run.
We were witnesses of Murphy's law in practise — Kamaro Engineering completed the straight park road, crossed the street and find the way through the gate to cemetery. Then they choose wrong direction to avoid the tree and left the road. That was the practise run. In the real run the robot did not even start.
JECC2 went on odometry only, without GPS. The robot was only several hours old so it was nice to see that it worked reasonably well, and the full barrel was not a problem.
The winner from last year Smelý Zajko entered with new dose of courage loaded into its neural network. There was a new sensor (laser scanner Hokuyo), which kept robot away from the cemetery wall. After several minutes of hesitation with motion a little there and a little back the direction from camera finally won and in the real run Smelý Zajko managed to enter the gate, went through the place of rest and leave through small gate on the other side. Its run was terminated by an another trap: white car on the parking place. The color was classified as potential road but dark wheel were not. And so the robot oscillated and never left the white car. The next year this situation should be solved by better integration of new LIDAR.
I would mention one more luckless fellow: MarS. Also here played the camera primary part for navigation and the concrete columns colored like the road attracted the robot and caused collision.
And what about E_liška from Radioklub Písek? She went fine, but missed the gate. She flirt a while with the cemetery wall but then we were witnesses of AI in practice (carper would probably say luck only), when she replanned the road and choose an alternative around the cemetery. And she almost succeeded (the failure was near the goal).
The second run was recorded from the air by Dan Polák, so you can have a look:
This shots look like some mass accident on robotic highway to me. It was supposed to be a simple run, but it was not. The start was on a cycle path along river Otava, slightly curved. The direction south — so was the sun the source of problems? There were strips painted on the road, was that the problem? I do not know. In any case robots had problems and nobody completed the first curve. This means that also nobody reached the first crossing to turn left on the bridge and second junction to the island. Once a while it was adrenalin, for example when E_liška wrongly evaluated surface change and turn left. There was steep slope down to the river.
We decided not to trouble robots with the uphill drive to „Putimská brána” after experience from the first two runs. Instead we moved the start to the beginning of pedestrian zone along the river. Teams and the batteries had some time to recover over lunch break, and you could recognize that. Somebody would say, that this was a simple track, somebody else just the opposite.
Well there were not many ways where you could turn away: there was a wall on the left and houses on the right. But low kerb was killer for several robots. Also wide dark sewer scare off for example MarS and it turned 180 degrees from it.
This run was a tragedy for so far winning E_lišku from team Radioklub Písek. Due to repeated motion back and forth she broke the wheel and did not participate in the remaining runs.
This run scored NDTeam and the most points gained Kamaro Engineering. They had problem with their onboard computer so they mounted notebook on robot instead. And it worked. After first runs experiences they removed from the code procedure to return to the start … and I believe that they would not reach the goal if the code was still there. So it was the only team which managed to navigate between houses and narrow streets along the river all the way to Stone bridge. They finished 8 meters from the goal because their goal radius was set to 10m.
The last run was on a wide street, cobblestones, uphill. These conditions did not suite in particular to MarS — small robot did not have enough power to pull the carriage with beer and small wheels turned in joint between tiles. Kamaro scored again and a lot. I expected that there are only two ways how to enter the park though houses, but they found the third one. Unfortunately it was very narrow with restaurant table on both sides so there was no chance to guess the correct direction. Even though the goal was just on the other side of the house and it was enough to convincing victory!
|Place||Team||1st Run||2nd Run||3rd Run||4th Run||Total|
Workshop and PAIR'15
There was a „classic” workshop on Sunday. It was coordinated with student conference PAIR'15 (Planning in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics) this year, organized by ČVUT FEL Praha. The overlap was useful for both sides: students learned something from experiences of Robotour participants and competitors got some idea about current status of scientific research. The invited talk was about Roboauto presented by Honza Najvárek.
There were some interesting technologies used by teams this year:
- Odroid (NDTeam, Istrobotics)
- laser scanner vacuum cleaner (Istrobotics, Kamaro Engineering)
- FPGA (ARBot)
- modified BLDC motors in wheel (Radioklub písek)
Nice „diversification” of the competition was visit of Roboauto from Brno. You may remember them from previous years, when their robots finished on leading places. Now they experiment with modified car Hundai i40 and they presented small demo to groups of robotics in Písek. Do not worry if you missed that — there is going to be a chance to see the car on Robotem rovně 2016, where the goal is to participate and autonomously navigate through the park .
Plans for Robotour 2016
If everything goes fine then the next Robotour is going to be in Germany (Deggendorf). Note, that we also plan some small changes in the rules. In particular there will be possibility to load/unload barrel (50 points if robot pass the start line). Also 500ml cans will be allowed instead of the big barrel, but the robot has to be able to load them (5 points per can, max 10 pieces). We will keep the reverse order on start, i.e. the currently best team will start from the last position.
I would like to thank a lot to Radioklub Písek for preparation and perfect realization of jubilee Robotour.
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