UW/SRS Contest Proposal

This page describes a proposed contest to be held jointly by the Seattle Robotics Society and the University of Washington Robotics and Controls Lab.

Contest Origination: Kevin Ross, June 1996

Goals of the Contest

This contest was created to meet the following goals:

The Contest:

The goal of the contest is to build an autonomous robot to collect up blocks that are located in the contest table, and place them into the scoring zones, within the allowed time.

This is a timed event. Each robot will have 90 seconds from the start of the round to score as many points as possible. The robot must stop all motion at 90 seconds, or it will be disqualified.

The contest consists of an individual robot being placed in the contest table. The table is a 4' by 8' flat surface, painted white, with matte black lines painted on the floor. There is a starting light located in the center of the table. Unless otherwise stated, all black lines on the table are 1" across.

The table is logically divided into four quadrants. The top left quadrant is the Line Quadrant, the bottom left is the Clear quadrant, the top right is the Obstacle quadrant, and the lower right is the Random quadrant. At each end of the table is a scoring zone surrounded by a 1" black line. The table is bordered by a 2" black line. Though the diagram below shows the scoring zones as a hatched area, in reality the floor of the scoring zone is flat white.

The blocks are constructed of polyurethane foam, and are 2"x2"x2" with a tolarance of +- .125".

In all of the quadrants, the basic goal is the same: Find the blocks and move them to the scoring zone. Each quadrant has its own challenges. All blocks on the table are available for the contestant to pick up. The quadrants merely denote the different challenges on the table. For blocks that are in known locations, there is a .25" positional error possible in the X and the Y axis.

The Quadrants:

Line Quadrant

The Line quadrant has several blocks placed in known locations, and provides black lines on the table as aids to navigation. The challenge in this quadrant is to follow the black lines accurately enough to find the blocks. The blocks in the Line Quadrant are worth 1 point each. Note that the diagram shows the layout of the lines and locations of blocks. However, the scale of the diagram and the exact dimensions between lines are subject to minor change. Do not depend on the dimensions. You need to follow the lines.

Clear Quadrant

The Clear Quadrant has several blocks placed at known locations. There are no additional aids other than knowing the pre-programmed coordinates. A robot can find these blocks using dead reckoning. The blocks in the Clear Quadrant are worth 2 points each.

The Obstacle Quadrant

The Obstacle Quadrant has several blocks placed at known locations. In addition, there may be 3 dimensional obstacles on the table that the robot must deal with. These objects will be heavy (3 lbs minimum, 5lbs maximum). They are held in place by friction with the table. The bottom surface will be covered with a felt material, and may move if pushed with sufficient force. Their shapes are not known, though the obstacles will be at least 3 inches in height. The judges will insure there is at least 5" radius of clearance between an obstacle and a block. The obstacles are randomly placed by the judges, and their positions and shapes may change between rounds. The blocks in the Obstacle Quadrant are worth 3 points each.

The Random Quadrant

The Random Quadrant has several blocks randomly placed in it. The orientation of the blocks and their position will be set by the judges by throwing the blocks onto the table. The judges will insure a 5" radius of clearance between blocks and the border wall of the table. The blocks in the Random quadrant are worth 4 points each.

Other Areas

The Starting Center

The Starting Center is located in the center of the table. The Starting Center has a dark plastic center with a starting light beneath it. This is the Starting Light. When the Starting Light turns on, the round begins. Surrounding the Starting Light are black lines that provide a directional encoding for orienting the robot. The diagram shows all of the radius measurements.

The Scoring Zones

Each end of the table has a scoring zone. The dimensions of the scoring zone is shown in the picture below. Note that the scoring zone is defined to be the outside edge of the area shown in the diagram.

Classes of Competition:

There are two classes of competition in this contest. Each team will declare which class their robot is in prior to the first round. There will be one final winner in each class.

Basic Rules:

Starting Conditions:

Each robot is placed in the table over a starting lamp. The starting lamp is embedded into the table. The start of the round occurs when the starting lamp is turned on. Each robot will be given the opportunity to calibrate its sensors during the setup period. The time period for the entire contest begins when the starting light is energized.

Each robot will have a designated 'Front' marker. The table will have designated directions of North, West, South, and East. The robot will be placed over the starting lamp with its front facing North, West, South, or East. The direction will be chosen by a random means, but will be at some 90 degree interval. The intent of this rule is that each robot will need to discover its orientation autonomously. Therefore, it is illegal to input, train, instruct, or otherwise communicate the orientation direction to the robot prior to the start of the round.

Contestants will have approximately 45 seconds to perform any calibration or setup that needs to be performed in the table.

Each robot is allowed two false starts per round. If a third false start occurs, the robot is disqualified for the round. If the false start is obviously caused by conditions not under the control of the contestants or the contest, then the judges may allow a variance on this rule.

The starting lamp is surrounded by a set of encoding marks to aid in the orientation process.


Each block must be within the plane of a scoring zone. The plane of the scoring zone is determined by the rectangular box defined by the outside of the black line surrounding the zone. A block MUST be 100% within the plane of the scoring zone. Each block is worth its face value inside the scoring zone. (Note: A block on or within a robot body is considered a score as long as the block is within a scoring zone).

Bonus points:

During the Round

While a robot is running on the table, it is to complete the round autonomously. Any interference, assistance, or intervention by the owning team will result in a loss. Any provable interference by non-team members may, at the judges descretion, allow the robot to start over.

End of the Round

This contest is timed. At the end of the round, which is 90 seconds after the start light comes on, the robot MUST stop all activities that might change the scoring of the round, including the movement of the robot. Any powered motion after 90 seconds is grounds for disqualification. At the end of the round, the judges will determine the score according to the scoring rules. Contestants are NOT allowed to touch the playing table before the judges are finished scoring.

Recent Revisions: