There-And-Back Robot Contest

The There-And-Back contest is one that many groups run on a routine basis and is a simple race where a robot starts at one end of a course and runs as fast as possible to the other end of the course and then reverses itself and runs back to the start. This is a beginners contest; there is no steering or other more advanced features needed to get started in this competition.  The purpose of this contest is to demonstrate a robot that is capable of autonomously navigating from one zone of a course to another zone and back.

The basic There-And-Back course:

This course is on the top surface of a banquet table.  As you can see from this diagram, you will begin the contest by placing your robot in the section labeled Zone A and then your ‘bot must travel the length of the course to Zone B and then back to where it began.  The floor of the course will be white and the two lines will be made with black electrical tape.  There are short (4″ high) walls along most of the edges of the table to protect the ‘bot, but each time your robot touches a wall, it will lose points (touching the walls with sound waves, via a sonar sensor, do not count, only when an actual part of the robot touches the wall, will you lose points.)  The two zones, at the ends of the table, will be approximately 12″ wide, your robot must fit entirely within a zone. This will give you an idea of the maximum size of your robot.

The table below shows how this contest is graded. The speed is important, but don’t overlook that you get 20 points just by having your robot complete the course. Another thing to remember is the last category. Many roboticists are so concerned with getting their creation to work that they forget about aesthetics. Just by having your robot look cool or pretty, you can get over 10% of the maximum possible points.


Point Assignment

Shortest time to complete the course

1st place: 30
2nd place: 20
3rd place: 10

Starts on remote command (sound, infrared, radio, etc)


Reaches Zone B


Returns to Zone A


Navigational skill — Finishes centered in Zone A


Navigational skill — Hitting a wall

-5 each hit

Entertainment value (Subjective, Judges prerogative)

Up to 10

Each robot will have 60 seconds to complete the course.  After that, the trial is over, and the score will be calculated.  If the robot goes off the table, or requires human intervention, the trial will end.  The robots run one at a time, and each robot will be given three tries at completing the challenge.  Only the best score from all of your runs will be considered for placement in the competition.  Each robot will be awarded a score based upon the criteria given in the table above.

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