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Rules outdoor challenge

To the occasion of the fifth anniversary of we have decided to organize a new competition for autonomous robots with a working name Robotour. It will be held in October 14th, 2006 in park Stromovka in Prague, Czech Republic. The goal of the robots will be to travel a given route of the park's passage ways. Emphasis will be on the robustness and reliability of the robots built with minimal expenses.


Most of you have probably already heard about the Grand Challenge competition, where autonomous cars are supposed to travel a given path within a given time frame. The Grand Challenge is very demanding, financially as well as from the robotic point of view. There are very high requirements for reliability and robustness of the whole system (remember, in 2004 none of the robots finished the route, the best traveling only 7 miles). This makes the competition accessible only to a very narrow group of people. Not only because of this reasons arose the Mini Grand Challenge with the goal of being much less demanding by allowing for low cost (yet highly sophisticated) robots to compete. This idea caught us so much that we have decided to organize a similar event here in Czech Republic.


The task of the robot is to travel through the given route of the park's (paved) passage ways. The route will be approximately 1 km long and the robot must finish it within 1 hour time limit.
The route will be given using a road network (RNDF - Road Network Definition File) and with several checkpoints (MDF - Mission Definition File) using the same coding as route specification for DARPA Urban Challenge. The network data will be available at least one month before the contest and it will contain all possible allowed paths. The list of checkpoints will be given to teams one day before the contest (in DARPA Urban Challenge it is planned to be only 5 minutes before the start). The specification of files is in the appendix.
Note: Although the route is given in the absolute WGS84 coordinates, the robot does not have to be equipped with GPS receiver! It is possible, for example, to generate an approximate map of park Stromovka and the route can be manually compiled into commands like in 25 meters turn right, on the next junction continue ahead, ... Moreover the team can walkthrough the route the day before contest.
The route is selected form park's passage ways. If the robot leaves the road, it will be paused, returned on the road and if a responsible person from the team agrees, the robot may continue with penalty points. The best result counts and all sucessfully finished rounds are summed up (see Evaluation). Maximum speed of the robot is limited to 2.5m/s (corresponds to a faster walk).
Minimal average speed is given by the time-limit and the length of the route. Also immobility of the robot lasting more than 60 second is a reason for termination of the attempt to finish the route. The current position on the route will be taken into selection of the best trial.


The robot must be fully autonomous. After the start no communication with the outside world is allowed. The robot must be equipped by an easily accessible big red STOP button. Remote switch is not needed because of the maximum speed allowed. Two people must be able to lift the robot and carry it several tens of meters.
Finally the robot must be able to carry a payload — the Czech variant of the payload is a five litre beer barrel filled with water (the original filling will be saved for a later use). [Because payload could be too limiting in this limited time remaining to contest, payload won't be mandatory in the first year. Robots able to carry payload the whole route will get extra points. ]
There are no constraints on the size of the robot. However the size is limited implicitly by the payload (minimum size) and by the width of the passage ways (maximum size). The robot must be electrically powered, no other power is allowed.
The robots should not have any protruding or sharp parts that may be able to inflict damage or that can be dangerous. The use of liquid products, corrosive products, pyrotechnics materials or living beings is forbidden. All the systems taken aboard the robots, shall respect the law. Specifically, the systems used shall comply with legal safety regulations and must not endanger the participants or the public.
All robots must comply with the legal standards concerning “low voltage”. Therefore, the internal voltage of the robots shall not exceed 48 V.
Every robot will be followed by one person from the team, older then 18, who is completely responsible for the robot behavior. In the case of unexpected behavior this person must use PAUSE or STOP button (see further below).

Date and Place

The contest will take place in October 14th, 2006 from 10 to 17 hours in Prague's park Stromovka. In case of a very bad weather the contest may be postponed to Sunday or even to the following weekend.

Homologation and Contest

Similarly to the Eurobot contest the robot must first go through the process of homologation. Besides checking all the requirements set forward by these rules the ability of the robot to finish the route will be also checked. To compete the robot must be able to travel 10 meters on a straight passage way within 5 minutes. Each team will have several trials.
RoboTour 2006 will be one-day-contest, but the teams expected arrival is one day before the contest. In the morning (or potentialy already after teams arrival) the robot will be homologated and the fixed order of teams will be given. There will be 5 competition rounds. Note, that there could be several robots competing simultaneously. The start time interval will be at least 10 minutes, and it will depend on the final number of homologated robots.
If the team will not be ready in time given by schedule, the time-slot will remain unused. Thus every team will know when exactly has to be ready.


The contest wins the team, whose robot will manage the route the best. All finished rounds are counted plus the best unfinished trial. It is possible to get double points for completed route, if the robot will carry extra payload. The robot will not any get extra points for unfinished case.

PAUSE button

Every robot has to be equipped with PAUSE button, which temporarely pauses robot motion. After re-activation (a normal switch could be used too) robot may continue on the road. The PAUSE button will be for example used when the robots will get closer than 10 meters apart. This functionaly will be tested during homologation procedure.


If you find the rules of this contest interesting and would like to participate let us know using our contact form. The registration deadline is the September 14th, 2006.


There is no clear first prize (you know, none of us has left over $1M). However there are still the original fillings from the payloads . In any case if there is anyone who would like to offer anything more, do not hesitate to contact us too.


This is a short overview based on detailed RNDF and MDF format specification.

RNDF format specification

RNDF — Road Network Definition File describes all allowed roads and travel zones. The network is composed of segments, where each segment can have several lanes. Lane is then list of coordinates (latitude and longitude in WGS84 system).
Every point (waypoint) has unique identification. For example waypoint 7.2.3 belongs to segment 7, lane 2 and it is 3. in order. Lanes are oriented and their points have to be passed in order. There are some special waypoints:
  • exit <from><to> … describes link beween waypoints of different lanes/segments
  • check_point <checkpoint id> <order>… checkpoint, later used in MDF
Here is an example of RNDF:
RNDF_file     stromovka
num_segments  30
num_zones     0
creation_date 17.6.2006

segment 1
num_lanes 1
lane 1.1
num_waypoints 10
lane_width 5
check_point 1.1.2  1
exit 1.1.10 2.1.1
exit 1.1.10 3.1.1
1.1.1 50.063171 14.256622
1.1.2 50.063141 14.255622

segment 2
num_lanes 2
lane 2.1


MDF format specification

MDF - Mission Definition File describes mission, i.e. where robot has to go. It is mainly sequence of checkpoints. MDF contains also maximal speed, but this information is irrelevant in RoboTour2006 contest.
An example of MDF:
MDF_file  robotour06
RNDF      stromovka

num_checkpoints 3
checkpoint_id 3
checkpoint_id 143
checkpoint_id 32

num_speed_limits 0

Photo Stromovka

Photo from Mini Grand Challenge