The 13th year of Robotour contest took place in a beautiful garden of castle
Lednice. We could witness many unexpected twists in robot behaviors, but also
many great achievements of some well prepared teams. Deservedly won team JECC
Fesl from Germany, both the Marathon (over 4km last weekend) and the Robotour
(Update 22/9/2018ARBot video)
The rules were very similar to the last year except one „detail” — the robots
had to learn how to read QR codes in order to have a chance to fight for the
victory. There were
12 teams, but only 4 of them scored (most of the robots navigated on the
road). We defined the teams area (service zone) hidden on the north side of the
castle where sometimes even Robotour teams had problem to find it. Besides very
large park we also had electricity, so what more a robotics could ask for?
The zero round took place already on Friday at 5pm (before it used to be on
Saturday morning). The main motivation was to test new QR codes and also tour
the park. At least Cogito and ND Team used collected data for overnight
analysis without too big pressure, and they had chance to tune the algorithms
and teach the networks for Saturday contest.
1st round (1-2-3-1)
The team JECC Fesl started among the firsts. Briskly moved from start area
downhill to a lake, but there the neural network classified a huge tree as
drivable and moreover lifted LIDAR no longer considered the tree as
obstacle — so unexpected 0 points for the main favorite.
A moment after Istrobotics came (if you would overlook them you would
surely not overhear them). Their automatic planner picked shorter but
steeper path and the robot stopped exactly in the center of loading area (by
the way, note the GPS antennae shield created from copper lid for stove.
According to their presentation on Sunday it helped to reduce position error
from 20m down to 1/10th!).
The loading area was near the staircase leading to the water. I was very
fascinated that Istrobotics did not stop the robot, which was on the edge
and only 1cm of the wheel was not in the air. It was so close to turn and fall
down to water. At the end they stopped it and scored 10 points for loading only.
Another „thirsty” robot, which reached the „stand with beer” was
Cogito. The robot moved extremely slowly, but it managed to load and
unload the beer in time. The slowness turned out to be problematic, because it
did not reach the last goal (service area) in 1 hour time limit. It also showed
a week point in the rules so we awarded it with 5 points.
And that was it. Nobody else showed up in loading area.
2nd round (1-4-5-1)
There was no need to wait too long for JECC Fesl in the second run as well.
The robot scored this time, but behind the corner the combination of dark
bushes with strong shadows turned out to be deadly and robot leaved the road.
A bit later arrived Istrobotics, load the keg, successfully transported it
to the other side of the lake, but failed to return to the base.
A nice surprise was ARBot, who showed up as not competing — it collided
on the way downhill with Istrobotics.
3rd round (1-6-7-1)
The 3rd round went to the other side of the castle, on the border of French
garden. It was necessary to go around a greenhouse, which several teams managed
to do. JECC Fesl handled well loading, unloading on a small triangular
connection road and return home! Finally full 30 points for the round.
Istrobotics reached the loading area, but they were not competing. The
weather changed, it rained a little bit, so they replaced their camera lenses
for wide-angle. It was looking too high so robot shortly after the start leaved
Also Short Circuits Prague reached the eastern terrace, but instead of
following the road straight and after 5 meters pick up the beer it turned
sharply right to very narrow road and did not manage to return from it.
In this round ARBot reached the loading area as „competing” and finally got
first 10 points for loading. Nevertheless the robot did not continue, because
there was no implementation of reading QR codes (according to the team the
camera resolution was not sufficient).
4th round (1-3-8-1)
I changed the planned coordinates for 4th round over the lunch. Original load
and unload stops were very far (next time I should double check the distances!).
We tried to help teams to get some points so we picked a simpler loading zone
which was unloading zone in the first round but the unloading remained as the
furthest point the French garden..
JECC Fesl and Istrobotics scored. Both robots reached the far unloading
zone, but also both failed on the way home. The funnier failure was for
Istrobotics (surely only from external point of view), because the reason
was insufficient disk space needed for storing log files. Besides a very long
journey there was an accident with horses. We know this danger already from
marathon, because both JECC Fesl
in Germany and Cogito in Switzerland horses met. This story had „Happy
End”, but the robot had to wait extra 10 minutes before it was sorted out. And
during that time it was recording.
Short Circuits Prague
It looks like that the new rules suite well both the competitors as well as the
organizers. We discussed and plan to update only two points:
add extra 30 minutes between runs, so the competition will start next time at
9:30am and end 4:30pm
award 1 point robots leaving semiautonomous zone, so we can distinguish
active and dead robots
Robotour 2018 went well. There were whole families enjoying the event as well
as the castle and the garden.
I would like to thank this way to the office of the castle Lednice for the
opportunity to organize Robotour in their very nice park, Vladimír Mašán from
Faculty of Horticulture, Mendel University in Brno for the full school support
and accommodation, Jan Faigl for organization of PAIR conference and
arranging refreshments for all participants, and finally Ondřej Luks for
implementation and maintenance of