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Robotour 2011 results

Czech and Slovak meeting of roboteers in Vienna

There were fifteen registered teams for Robotour 2011 contest from five countries, but only eight of them arrived and were able to pass the homologation test. Smelý Zajko represented Slovak Republic and the other ones were „troupers” from Czech Republic. The contest went well besides this high mortality ratio and the show was positively received by wide spectrum of Vienna public: from small children to old people on a walk in a beautiful Türkenschanzpark.


The group of organizers arrived for homologation test on Friday around 1pm. Meanwhile some teams were already nervous and called us, were are we (even though the official beginning was at 2pm). The other extreme were teams which come shortly before the end of homologation at 7pm. Those late comers brought the promised sponsor gift from ArtIn — 15 barrels of beer, so everything was forgiven.
A week before the contest had the usual evolution: Polish team 4future canceled its participation on Tuesday (they did not get necessary financial support from their school),
MoonRabbit followed them on Wendnesday (after the robbery at the beginning of September they did not fully manage to cover the lost of a notebook … maybe we could start some kind of shared off-site code repository on for teams source code??). The final „splash” surely came the day before contest, when bad news delivers the mail from Slovenia team The Experts (they spent too much time on development of hardware that were was not enough time left for software integration), Slovak B-Team (a conflict between finishing presentation for RIE conference and the robot for Robotour) and Austrian team [FAIL] (sickness). From the newbies there are still in a game Czech RoboTeam (their mail with apologize came on Friday) and Austrian team KART.
KART team arrived with their P3-AT, but the robot did not behaved as expected. More over organizers had a problem with the power generator and the KART robot with many sensors and hungry computational power quickly depleted its own batteries. The charging at BOKU (University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna) helped a little, but that was not he only weakness of the robot. A complex program was replaced by a trivial one for homologation only: go 10 meters, if there is an obstacle stop and continue as soon as the obstacle disappears. It turned up during the testing that the sonar data are completely nonsense. At the end KART team gave up after whole day fight.
Any conclusion? Well, there were homologated seven Czech teams and one Slovak team for the "international" contest Robotour 2011 in Vienna …

The Contest

Robots on the start
Robots on the start
The contest started with a „training” round on Saturday at 9am. We should rather call it the „warm-up” round for the next years to avoid questions like „why do I have to be there and discharge my batteries if the results do not count”? We thought of the following motivation: the order from the training round will be used for start placement in the first scored round. And how was it? As expected, complete chaos. Several robots showed at the very last moment, others did not start or did not manage to enter goal coordinates in time. It was surely a good idea to have this training round — it is absolutely necessary and hopefully we overcome our laziness the next year again.
The first official round at 10am went just perfectly smooth. The start was near the teams base area and the goal was in the south-west corner of the park, on the crossing with Marschner-Denkmal. There were several reasonable routes, so for example Short Circuits Prague took the main wide road while Eduro Team took a steep slope down to ping-pong tables area and sand castle for kids. Roboauto went back and forth on the crossing, no idea which way to go. The champion was Eduro Team. Their robot was stopped due to 30 minutes time limit, approximately 18 meters from the destination.
The second round started close to one of the many small lakes and the goal was on the other side of the park, near beach volleyball area. This round was already recorded by Austrian TV ORF. Spectators could see another dramatic concurrent start of all robots accompanied by yells of kids whenever a robot got enough courage to safely start and go. The robot Eduro ends up near hydrant. The lead was taken over by Roboauto Quido, which aggressively started with their creators running after it. The reason was that the maximal speed was changed by factor two in order to reach the start area in time, but they forgot to change it back again. Later they commented that the robot did not have enough time to think about the road and that was good . So what was the stopper for Quido about 100 meters from destination? Empty batteries, again!!!
The start of the third round was under the bridge. Simply, we could not resist to use such a tricky navigation feature. Besides we got a tribune for the spectators and a test for robots with worse GPS quality signal. The majority of robots handled the start correctly but none of the robots picked the right junction near the end leading towards destination bridge near waterfalls. The champions for this round were both robots from Roboauto.
The last goal must be from a principle on the top of the hill, i.e. near the entrance to the brick tower. There were many routes, but almost all robots picked the shortest with a steep hill. This was a torture for Roboauto as well as for Eduro. Surprisingly this hill did not cause any troubles to a small ARBot robot (this time it was unofficial run, the robot left the road sooner), and Short Circuits. The best score had Eduro, which was so excited after finishing the steep hill that it crossed the main road and fell of the road. The target Paulinenturm remained symbolically in a distance, so demanding Robotour contest still remains serious outdoor delivery challenge.
We completed the whole competition with winner announcement: the first place Roboauto Quido, second place Eduro Team and the third place Roboauto Karlík. Because this year almost every team had accommodation in different place, the celebration and informal discussions took place in the park itself. Pizza and beer . The drivers were not very happy because of this arrangement so shortly after dusk the teams continue near their hostels …

The Score Table

Order Team 1st Run 2nd Run 3rd Run 4th Run Total
1st Roboauto Quido 121 259 243 19 642
2nd Eduro Team 317 58 159 84 618
3rd Roboauto Karlík 111 81 188 54 434
4th Short Circuits Prague 137 93 45 69 344
5th Radioklub Písek 49 158 113 0 320
6th ARBot 0 169 53 31 253
7th-8th Smelý Zajko 3 2 72 0 77
7th-8th HACKERSPACE PISEC 0 56 4 5 65


There was a workshop for the teams on Sunday morning. It was in English even those who would not understand Czech could be counted on fingers of one hand. The workshop took place at HappyLab, a place where every roboteer would be happy. CNC machine, 3D printer, machine for T-shirts print, laser cutter, tools for development of printed boards … shortly everything you can think of that it could be useful for the robot development. The members pay 20EUR a year to HappyLab plus the price of material. After some training course the members can get their own keys and if they want they could be there for 24hours a day, if their family and employer let them … well, this is a little bit off topic now.
Roboauto had joined presentation. They showed usage of their simulator in a combination with the planner. If the road is not traversable, the planner finds an alternative and the robot continues towards the goal with another road. Unsolved issue was the case when the alternative road was also blocked. In that case robot replans the road and „forgets” about the original blockage. This could lead to an infinite oscillations until one of the obstacles disappears. The team plans an integration of collected data into a globally consistent map for the next year.
Jiří Iša from Eduro Teamu used his one line presentation and the rest of the time he commented the video of robot's adventure (by the way, you can see a part of it in the TV shot of ORF). It was clear from the video which parts robot considers to be traversable road and which are considered obstacles. More over it was very nice presentation of all robots as they bypassed Eduro or Eduro bypassed them.
After advertisement break, a TV wanted to shot a video of some robot details, there was a presentation of Short Circuits Prague. Pavel Jiroutek showed integration of testing tools into Google Earth, where he could see OpenStreetMap layer together with the current GPS position, the snapped position on the road and the odometry position.
The last presentation was again joined, Radioklub Písek and HACKERSPACE PISEC. It is clear now that besides robots and enthusiasm both teams share also a sense of humor . Very nice and funny presentation.
The whole workshop was finished with the planes for Robotour 2012. It will probably take place in Czech Republic again. The rules will remain the same as this year.
p.s. we talked also about news related to Robotour:



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