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winner of ultra-wet Robotour is Istrobotics!

The 11th year of Robotour contest was the wettest. It rained permanently all day. This was not only challenge for the sensors and electronics, but also for the teams themselves. Never the less there were 12 robots on the start accepting the challenge in heavy rain (and wind too). Istrobotics with more than 600 points was the clear winner …



There were fourteen teams registered and twelve of them actively participated. The Czech team MART give up on Friday and also the local team WallE had some unrecoverable problems (the robot parts were immediately reused for „No! This is Patrick” team).

The Place

The Technische Hochschule Deggendorf has very nice campus on the river bank of Donau and it is surrounded by several parks. Stadthallenpark was classic park with fountain, roses and sandy roads. Then there were several long straight roads along the creek Bogenbach and river Donau. Then there was a section with metal corridor on the roof of parking garage Parkdeck Deichgarten. And if you would like to make it even harder there were bridges, up and down ramps, railway, steps … simply challenge.
Map overview
Map overview

The Weather

… was just horrible. The next level would be probably snow and hail! It rained all day and the area was covered by many pools (some several centimeters deep), plus cold wind … but what does not kill you makes you stronger, so maybe it was good „push” to improve the robots and also the contest itself.


Friday homologation was like paradise when compared to the weather contest on Saturday. It turned out that there only two teams loading the beer: Cogito used the this year option with 500ml can and Radioklub Písek with crane and full 5liter barrel. Other teams were more rational and skipped this extra bonus points/troubles (for the next years we want to discourage it a little).
There was an exciting moment worth yellow journalism and that was then Quadron team left their robot parked (was it with STOP emergency button pressed?) their robot next to the road (and university stream) and after several minutes the robot woke up, turned sharp left and run for the water! The team members were not quick enough, but they were lucky that the stream had bushes along so they stopped the robot. The batteries were pulled out, but the robot survived.
Surprisingly something similar happened to Raptors an hour later … (but not so dramatic).


There was almost nobody for 0. run at 9am. Only Aleš from AmBot came and started test run. Other hoped for better weather and decided that there is no point to get wet if there is no punishment or points.
The official first run started at 10:30 (the even opening was at 10am), Stadthallenpark near the bridge and destination on the other side. Istrobotics was able to get first several hundred points but also AmBot, Smelý Zajko, JECC, Raptors and Quadrons moved and got some points.
The second run was at 11:30 so not much time for rest. It was on the roof of the parking garage, very windy, very wet. Here scoring teams were already at the end of the line (the best is at the end) so AmBot tried side road to avoid the high traffic. Unfortunately the robot decisions oscillated near the rusty border and did not move far. Only Istrobotics managed to get some points in the run, moving zigzag from the last position among other robots to the far end. Near the goal the robot decided to turn left but there were 3 parallel steps. Surprisingly the owners did not run after their machine and the small car loaded with the large barrel managed to get from the first step. On the second step they stopped it.
The 3rd run was probably most emotive for me. All twelve robots where there, on the road parallel to railway. Here Kamaro Beteigeuze got their first points. They wanted to cross the bridge, but turned right sooner. The robot did not recognize this mistake so on the next crossing they turned right instead of left on the narrow downhill road under the bridge.
Also Istrobotics had problem with the bridge and their robot refused to cross it. There were several collisions on the start (Radioklub Písek backed up into the opponent for example). Several teams confirmed anomalies with compass, so maybe there is high voltage cable hidden under the road like in Písek?
The 4th (last) run was from the other side of the bridge back to school. There were again all 12 robots. Team Cogito changed their strategy to move 25 meters, unload the beer can and return to start. That way they would get extra points for automatic loading, unloading and twice the points for the distance from the start, but … ARBot started the same second and was in the blind zone on the right. It looked like the racing but unfortunately at one point both robots decided to steer it towards the opponent.
Interestingly Smelý Zajko and JECC finished again on the same spot (they left the road in the same area in 1st run). Here they hit the concrete block when entering the bridge. Was it just coincidence or their robot brains using neural networks interpreted in both cases the situation the same way?

Total Score

Place Team 1st Run 2nd Run 3rd Run 4th Run Total
1st Istrobotics 156 272 90 94 612
2nd Kamaro Beteigeuze 0 0 76 94 170
3rd-5th Smelý Zajko 28 0 0 40 68
3rd-5th JECC - Fesl 28 0 0 40 68
3rd-5th AmBot 66 0 0 0 66
6th Raptors 20 0 3 0 23
7th Cogito 0 0 0 1+5 6
8th-9th Quadrons 1 0 0 0 1
8th-9th ARBot 1 0 0 0 1
10th-12th Lois 0 0 0 0 0
10th-12th No! This is Patrick! 0 0 0 0 0
10th-12th Radioklub Písek TCVVI 0 0 0 0 0


The contest was quite exhausting this year, but it was clear that there is high determination of the teams to push it further. Thanks a lot to prof. Kurpris and his colleagues — the organization was perfect! Also thanks to the sponsors and the city Deggendorf covering the accommodation and dinner expenses.
And what next? We discussed it on the Sunday workshop (as part of PAIR'16) and I would leave it to separate article, but it resonate with the wishes of teams that they do not want to enter coordinates in their robots any more (wet keyboard, unreadable papers, non-working wet notebooks, …). It is time for full autonomy.

ARBot photos (2nd Run)

Kamaro Betelgeuse Video

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