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 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.
… 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
Surprisingly something similar happened to Raptors an hour later … (but not
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?
JECC - Fesl
No! This is Patrick!
Radioklub Písek TCVVI
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
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