robotika.cz outdoor delivery challenge
The fourth year of this autonomous outdoor robot contest will be held in park
Lužánky, Brno. Besides the new location the novelty is simultaneous start of
all robots from unknown positions. More space will be also dedicated to „free
style” category. From previous years remains obstacle avoidance, payload
delivery and the possibility of robot cooperation. Each team can again deploy
up to 3 machines.
The first year of the contest was organized in 2006, in occasion of celebration
of 5th year of website robotika.cz
. Besides the effort
to fill a gap in autonomous outdoor robot contest area, the goal was to unite
robotics community, share know-how and also succeed on international level.
Finally we wanted to have some potentially practical outcome. So far the unified
theme of all years is robot's ability to autonomously navigate in outdoor
environments and move payload from a place to another place.
First three years of the contest were held in cooperation with
in Prague, park Stromovka.
Since this year we would like to „tour” also the contest itself so the
location was moved for year 2009 to city Brno.
The rules for each year slightly change and the contest is more and more
challenging every year. On the other hand you can find information about
existing solutions on the website so novices do not have to start from
The robots have to be fully autonomous, which means that after task entry they
have to decide by themselves. Since the first year the basic requirement is to
navigate on paved roads in the park without leaving them — similar to cars
not leaving the streets. In the second year possibility of robot cooperation
was introduced. Last year obstacles were added and robots had to successfully
deal with them.
There are other contests of autonomous outdoor robots in the world. The
first to mention is American Grand
, where robots (typical autonomous cars) had to
autonomously overcome non-trivial distances. In the last year contest they
should also recognize signposts, navigate in city-like environment and respond
to other robots.
Since 2005, Pennsylvania State University organizes
. Mid-size robots, similar to Robotour, have to autonomously
navigate in Abington park and avoid obstacles. The track is marked by
traffic cones blocking other roads on junctions. Also a set of GPS waypoints
is available. The contest is still active and you can even download some
for the software framework.
There is also one contest held in Europe: Field
. In contrast to other contests here the organizers just let the
. The task is to navigate in a field plant with corn. In
2009 the contest will be held in Holland (6.-8. July 2009, Wageningen
University and Research centre).
Motivation for year 2009
This year contest should be the next step towards smarter and more autonomous
robots. Motto of this year is emphasis on fully autonomous robots and the
ability to deal with obstacles. In comparison to previous years robot's will
not know exactly their start position. Also the interaction with operator will
be reduced to round-track entry and starting robot. Similar to previous years
more robust machines able to carry payload are preferred as well as robot's
cooperation in motion in convoy.
Task The task of the robots is to travel through the given circular 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. The start position will be for each robot also finish position (note,
that this position will be for each robot different, see below).
The route will be selected from the footpaths of park
Lužánky in Brno 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
for year 2006,
and code AEDCHIJLW
year 2007 contest in park Stromovka).
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. Button has to be easily
accessible, red and must be fixed par of the robot (Big Red Switch).
Leaving the road The robots are expected to stay “on the road” which
means to stay on the paved passage ways. If any robot from the group leaves the
road, the trial ends for this robot and all robots behind it. The team has to
take care of their robots and remove them immediately.
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 robotic convoy may stop in front of the obstacle and visually
or acoustically give notice, that the obstacle was detected but no avoidance is
planned. The obstacle (artificial) will be removed and robots may continue.
Note, that robot has to detect, that obstacle is no longer present.
Beacon There will be __one__ dedicated area, where team can place its own
beacon. This area will be shared by all teams. Each team has to announce during
homologation process what frequencies are used (transmission will be allowed
only on officially permitted radio bands). Organizers will not solve potential
problems with interferences. They will only publish list of teams and their
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”. If a robot leaves the road or touches an obstacle the trial ends
for this robot and all robots behind it.
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 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.
Technical documentation Every team has to provide basic technical
documentation about their robot (for presentations, general public and
journalists). Three winning teams will be asked for more detail description for
website presentation and easier entry of novices in next year.
Organization The contest will consist of 4 trials for each team. The route
will be different for every trail. The selected round code will be announced to
all teams 10 minutes before the start. The starting position on the round will
be random for every trial. All robots will start at the same time. In the cases
where faster robot catch up previous one won't be explicitly solved (PAUSE
button will not be used). Faster robot can handle slower robot as an obstacle,
i.e. avoid it or wait until „obstacle” disappears. 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
Free style After completion of the basic contest, there will be extra
category „free style”. You have to register if you want to present your
robot, but it is not necessary to participate in the basic contest. Here can
robot demonstrate its original 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
Basic differences between last and this year contests
- Exact position of start will not be available for the robots and operator
must not give it to robot. Only the round code will be entered. In case of
problems robot will be started by jury.
- All robots will start at the same time.
- ERROR button is no longer permitted. Nobody will touch the robots during
contest anymore! PAUSE button can be used only by jury in some dangerous
cases. If anybody from the team stops the robot, it means termination of the
- No wireless STOP buttons are allowed - they confuse general public that
robots are RC controlled.
- No extra points for obstacle avoidance.
- Robot has to recognize when obstacle was removed (there is no contact
allowed not even using PAUSE button).
- There is no restriction of obstacles size. There could be even cases,
when the whole path is blocked and it is impossible to avoid it. In this
case robot has to stop. After visual/acoustical signal obstacle will be
- Number of trials was reduced from 5 to 4.
- Team can have a beacon (for example for DGPS corrections) on one place
defined by organizers.
- There is a chance that robot's will carry „system for on-line vehicle
tracking” (in this case robots tracking).
Where and when?
For the general public the contest will be held on Saturday September 26th in
Brno, 10-17h in park Lužánky. 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
. The final dead-line
for registration is 31st of July 2009
If you would like to support this contest or you have something interesting to
offer, let us know