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Outdoor Robot Challenge Rules

V1.1

I. The Purpose:

The purpose of the DPRG Outdoor Robot Challenge is to encourage the development of autonomous, outdoor robots that can navigate distances in arbitrary environments and survive on their own without human intervention. The contest is broken into 4 challenges which are meant to be incremental steps toward that ultimate goal.

II. The Environment:

The contests are held at various locations around the Dallas area. Any venue that provides large parking lot spaces and accessible public areas can be used.

The first two challenges are conducted on a large, flat, level, obstacle-free asphalt parking lot with no rebar, no nearby buildings, and an unobstructed view of the sky. See details below.

The third challenge can be conducted on the parking lot as well as unpaved terrain, and the fourth challenge is held on the mixed terrain, using buildings, gardens, walls, and architecture as obstacles.

III. The Robots:

The robot must be constructed and operated in such a way as to not damage the environment or other robots. Robots must be autonomous. Remote control is not allowed, with the exception of an optional remote control shutoff switch. Each contestant is responsible for any damage caused by his or her robot. See liability waiver below.

IV. Liability:

Each contestant is fully responsible for any damage to person or property caused directly or indirectly by his or her robot. The Dallas Personal Robotics Group is not responsible for any damages caused by any competing robots. Each contestant must sign a waiver of liability prior to the competition.

V. The Judges:

One or more judges will officiate the contest. Their prime responsibilities will be to determine that a robot has successfully completed the requirements of a specific challenge, to provide measurements of the robot's stopping position for scoring, and to adjudicate any questions. The decisions of the judges are final.

VI. The Challenges:

  1. Out and Back.

    Drive from the origin to a point at least 100 feet away and back to the origin and stop. Distance is then measured from the stopping place to the origin. Shortest distance wins.

  2. Borenstein Square(pdf).

    Drive from the origin around a square 100 feet on each side, clockwise or counter-clockwise as instructed by the judge, and stop at the origin. Distance is then measured from the stopping place to the origin. Shortest distance wins.

  3. Obstacles.

    Drive from the origin to a point at least 100 feet away and back to the origin, with obstacles in the way. Distance from the stopping point to the origin is then measured. Shortest distance wins.

  4. Long Haul

    Drive from an origin across the course to a point 500 to 1000 feet away, (to be determined at contest time) and back to the origin. Distance from stopping place to origin is then measured. Shortest distance wins.

VII. The Scoring

The robot score for each challenge is simply the distance from the robot's stopping place to the origin. Lowest score wins.

Each robot begins each challenge at the origin locations listed below, or their equivalent. It is not required that the robots hit the waypoints precisely, as long as they are "close" in the judgement of the judges. Only the distance to the final waypoint matters for the score. There is no time limit, however the judges may, at their discretion, time each run as a method for ranking robots that have similar accuracy scores.

No human interaction or tending of the robot is allowed in the first 3 challenges.

Special circumstances of the 4th challenge may require the robot builder to intervene to prevent the robot from falling into a pond or climbing into a flower garden on the Fair Grounds. We are guests at the facility. No points will be deducted for such "shepherding" of the robot. However the judges may, at their discretion, disqualify a robot from competition for "too much shepherding."

Every robot that completes a challenge will receive a "DPRG Challenger Award" in addition to however it may rank in its accuracy score.

VIII. The Spring 2008 Contest Course.

A. Challenge #1 and #2

The first two challenges are intended to be run on a large obstacle-free parking lot. Here is a picture of the location for this Spring's 2008 contest, at Northway Christian Church:


Northway Christian Chruch Parking Lot

The GPS coordinates below given in decimal degrees are the four corners of a clockwise square in the Northway Christian Chruch parking lot pictured above:


100x100 foot square (+- 0.5 feet)

1. N  32.86357 		2. N  32.86357
   W 096.78155		   W 096.78188

3. N  32.86384		4. N  32.86384
   W 096.78188		   W 096.78155

Here are the azimuth's and distances for a clockwise pattern around the square, starting at point #1.

From point 1 to point 2:
	109.05 deg  30.64 meters  100.52 feet  1206 inches

From point 2 to point 3:
	199.58 deg  30.66 meters  100.60 feet  1207 inches

From point 3 to point 4:
	289.05 deg  30.64 meters  100.52 feet  1206 inches

From point 4 to point 1:
	19.58 deg  30.66 meters  100.60 feet  1207 inches

The Borenstein UMBMark calibration benchmark, which the second contest is based on, requires that a robot drive around a square both clockwise and counter-clockwise. For the contest, each robot will drive only one square at the instruction of the judges.

B. Challenge #3 Locations

Drive exercise #1, out and back, but with obstacles in the way. Good obstacles might be a small grove of trees between the waypoints, or the corner of a building or a group of humans in between the waypoints, at the discretion of the judge.

Example obstacles for Challenge #3:

 
A small grove of trees between two waypoints:

                       B
                       |
                       |
                     tree tree
                tree  tree
                 tree       tree
                       tree
              tree   tree  tree
                  tree          tree
                       |
                       |
                       A


Or the corner of a building used as test obstacle between two waypoints:


                                       B
                                  |   /
                                  |  /
                                  | /
                                  |/
                      Building    |
                                  |
                                  |
                  -----------------
                              /
                             /
                            /
                           /
                          A


Or humans as obstacles:

                       B
                       |
                       |
                     human human
                human  human
                 human      human
                       human
              human   human  human
                  human    human
                       |
                       |
                       A

C. Challenge #4 Locations

Challenge #4 is an "extreme" version of Exercise #3, but in this case the obstacles are Fair Park itself, its buildings, fences, stairways, sidewalks, and miscellaneous gardens. An example challenge is pictured here:


Fair Park Long Haul Challenge

The challenge in this example is to navigate autonomously from the meadow next to the Science Place (waypoint on the left) to the meadow next to WRR (waypoint on the right) and back, with only these two waypoints:


1.  N  32.77633
    W 096.76180

2.  N  32.77631
    W 096.75965

Links:

2007 DPRG Outdoor Robot Challenge

2008 DPRG Outdoor Robot Challenge Solutions

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