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Pravidla outdoor delivery challenge

The third year of an autonomous outdoor robot contest will be held again in park Stromovka, Prague. In comparison to the previous years the robots should be more autonomous while traveling on the paved park roads (no manual intervention allowed this time) and while avoiding or at least detecting obstacles (this was previously not required). Extra points for carrying payload and cooperation of up to three robots in one team remain form previous years.


This year contest should be the next step towards smarter and more autonomous robots. The first year contest introduced the basic idea of robots for outdoor use. The second year then tried to support more robust constructions able to carry payload and also robot cooperation in convoy. Motto of this year is emphasis on fully autonomous robots and the ability to deal with obstacles.


Task The task of the robots is to travel through the given route of the park (paved) passage ways. The route will be at most 1 km long and the time limit is 30 minutes. Robots must be fully autonomous, not leave the road, and correctly pick direction at intersections based on instructions given on start.
Route The route will be selected from the footpaths of park Stromovka as a sequence of connected segments. Each segment is assigned an unique letter and the route will be defined by its code (for example see code ABCORSTUO for year 2006, and code AEDCHIJLW for year 2007 contest).
Robots Each team can deploy at most three robots designated HEAD, BODY and TAIL. The robots may not touch while en route and the distance HEAD-BODY and BODY-TAIL may not exceed 2m. All robots must be equipped with a PAUSE button that can temporarily suspend their movement. This button will be used to start the robot and to stop it when it leaves the road. One of the robots (usually HEAD) can be equipped with an ERROR button (see section Leaving the road). Buttons have to be easily accessible — in particular notebook keyboard is not satisfactory. There has to be enough free space around each button.
Leaving the road The robots are expected to stay “on the road” which means to stay on the paved passage ways. When it is imminent that a robot will leave the road, the convoy can be warned by pressing the ERROR button. For one fragment this button can be pressed only once. If any robot from the group leaves the road, the trial ends for this robot and all robots behind it.
Obstacles There could be obstacles on the road. Besides natural obstacles like benches there could be also artificial obstacles. A typical (artificial) obstacle is for example a figurant or a banana paper box. Robots may not touch an obstacle. The obstacle will be always placed that it will block at most one half of the road.
Score The team whose robots manage best to proceed along the route wins. The route will be divided into fragments 20m to 40m long. Each intersection is designated to be a fragment of its own including approx. 5m before and 5m after the intersection. The segments in between the intersections will be evenly split. For a completion of a fragment team gets one point (“point for the road”). If the team carries any payload it is awarded one point for each payload transported (“point for the payload”). Each robot can carry only one “payload”. Successful obstacle avoidance doubles the points per fragment. In total the team can get up to 8 points. If the ERROR button is used in a particular fragment, no points are awarded for that fragment. If a robot leaves the road or touches an obstacle the trial ends for this robot and all robots behind it. On the other hand the convoy can stop in front of the obstacle and visually or acoustically give notice, that the obstacle was detected but no avoidance is planned. In this case the team won't get extra bonus points and the (artificial) obstacle will be removed and robot can continue in motion.
Homologation A team can participate in the contest if it is able to score at least one point. Necessary condition is the ability to travel one fragment without using the ERROR button and without collision with an obstacle. The team must show that it is easy to manipulate with the robot — two people must be able to carry it several tens of meters. Usage of liquids, corrosive, pyrotechnic material and live beings is strictly prohibited. Every robot has to be accompanied by a team member, older 18 years, who is fully responsible for the robot behavior.
Organization The contest will consist of 5 trials for each team. The route will be different for every trail. The team will be given the route code 10 minutes before the start. The starting order will be different (random) for every trial. The time interval between the starts of different teams will be at least 5 min. That means that robots of competing teams can be en route at the same time. The speed of the robots is not important (actually it is limited to 2.5m/s). All points gained during all trials will be summed together. If a robot does not move for 60s or more it is stopped and its current trial ends. The time limit for a single trial is 30 minutes.
Free style There will be one extra trial for each team where it could choose a fragment and demonstrate their original robot capabilities. It could be ability to dock, dance, automatic loading and unloading… there will not be other than safety restrictions. Evaluation of this exhibition will be independent on the main contest.

Basic differences between last and this year contests

  • The route will not be available a day before the contest. It will no longer be possible to travel the route manually and during the contest only “replay” the recorded data.
  • The route will be encoded by letters, enabling simple entry shortly before the start.
  • Added ERROR button and removed the possibility to manually return the robots after the leaving road. It is no longer possible to touch the robots during the contest.
  • Obstacles and related scoring.
  • Reduced time limit to 30 minutes.
  • Exhibition during free-style-trial.

Where and when?

For the general public the contest will be held on Saturday September 20nd in Prague, 10-17h in park Stromovka. In the case of very bad weather the contest can be postponed to Sunday.
For the teams this will be three-day-event: there will be homologations on Friday, contest on Saturday and a small workshop on Sunday (theme “what is actually hidden in your unique machines”).


If you would like to participate in the contest, please let us know using contact form. The final dead-line for registration is 31st of July 2008.

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