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[DPRG] 2015 RoboColumbus

Subject: [DPRG] 2015 RoboColumbus
From: David Anderson davida at smu.edu
Date: Thu Dec 4 00:10:47 CST 2014


With 6Can competition bearing down upon us, I've already been thinking 
about the next outdoor contest. So shift gears with me for a moment and 
consider RoboRama 2015s a and b.

Richard Neveau wrote:

jBot ran a demo of David’s proposal for an alternate contest for the 
future by finding the cone and then returning to the starting line. jBot 
also found the cone after going down the steps (8?) on the deck just for 

So .... that is the idea I've been promoting for the next RoboColumbus. 
In a nutshell it's this: to start at a location, navigate to a distant 
waypoint, and navigate back to the origin and stop. That's what the jBot 
demo at the contest/gathering at Paul's was trying to show.

I've described at RBNO and online the advantages of a navigation task 
that has to return to home. I'll just add at this point that it also 
really fits the name, "RoboColumbus." After all, Magellan died halfway 
though his journey. Columbus made it home. ;>)

So I'd like to formally propose this competition for DPRG 2015 RoboColumbus:


DPRG 2015 RoboColumbus Competition.

1. Contest: to start at one way point, navigate to a target way point, 
and return to the origin waypoint and stop.

Any robot that completes that task is considered to have completed the 
contest. Each run is timed.

2. There is a 10-foot radius circle around each waypoint.

If any part of a robot crosses over that circle, the robot is considered 
to have arrived at the way point.
Arriving at the way point = 1 point. (first time only)
The robot does not have to stop.

3. There is an Orange Traffic Cone at the waypoint at the center of each 
10-foot error circle.

Touching the orange cone and coming to a stop += 2 points. (first time only)

4. There is a third "bonus" cone located behind some obstacle(s) or in 
some hard to reach place.

Arriving within the bonus cone circle += 1 point (first time only)
Touching the bonus cone += 2 points. (first time only)
Robot can attempt to reach the bonus waypoint either before or after the 
target waypoint.

5. Ties are decided by fastest time.


I tried to keep the rules as simple as possible, and also backward 
compatible with the RoboColumbus we've already run. I've been mulling 
through the math and I think this looks fair to all. It would allow 
robots without cameras or other means of locating the cone to be able to 
run in the contest, if they can hit the error circles. So in that sense 
it adds a lower level competition, RoboColumbus --level 0, as well as a 
higher level.

Here are some sample scores:

2 points start --> target circle --> start circle and stop
3 points start --> target circle --> bonus circle --> start circle and stop
4 points start --> target circle --> touch cone --> start circle and stop
5 points start --> target circle --> touch cone --> bonus circle --> 
start circle and stop
6 points start --> target circle --> touch cone --> start circle --> 
touch cone and stop
7 points start --> target_circle --> touch cone --> bonus circle --> 
start circle --> touch cone and stop
9 points start --> target circle --> touch cone --> bonus circle --> 
touch cone --> start circle --> touch cone and stop

The winner is the robot with the most points. Ties go to the faster time.

Talking to Richard and Doug, it seems the hardest part of making a 
RoboColumbus contest happen is finding a place to run it. Since I'm 
sticking my neck out here anyway, I'll volunteer to try to help track 
down some place to hold the next contest.

happy roboting,

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