RBNV Birthday and RoboColumbus Contest Details

RBNV’s Birthday

DPRG’s virtual meeting replacement for Robot Builder’s Night Out (RBNO), named Robot Builder’s Night Virtual (RBNV), has celebrated its first year anniversary. RBNV’s initial meeting was held on March 24th, 2020. The meeting has been very successful, joining hobby roboticists from many locations including New Zealand, Canada, and around the USA, to the DPRG community. The talent and creative projects of these new friends has been invigorating to the club. RBNV has also inspired the club’s 2021 team project of developing a standard API and robot for tele-presence.

August RoboColumbus Competition Details

The competition webpage on dprg.org has been updated with all the information concerning the upcoming RoboColumbus contest on August 21,2021. If you are interested in either competing or coming to watch the fun, it is a must read. The revised rules for this year’s RoboColumbus event allow RTK-GPS and have increased the weight limit to 65 pounds. You need to read the rules document for information on other changes. One interesting change is the new prize for anyone who achieves at least one point (i.e., drives within 10 feet of a cone). All contestants that score at least one point will receive a custom RoboColumbus coffee mug that will only be rewarded for this event. The custom  mug for contestants that achieve a score of nine will receive a special mug that has the message “Perfect Score” added to the design. The top three places will also receive an additional prize.

RoboColumbus Plus 2016 Results

Avondale Park in Denton, TX provided an excellent venue for RoboColumbus Plus 2016 held on November 19th. The weather was a brisk clear Autumn day. Contestants and spectators all had a great time watching the robots make their attempts at the course. This year’s course was the most challenging course in RoboColumbus history.

Image of home cone showing first target cone in the distance

RoboColumbus is an outdoor robot competition that was patterned after the RoboMagellan competition run by Seattle Robotics Society. RoboColumbus was always meant to be a training ground for DPRG members to improve their outdoor rover knowledge and be simpler than RoboMagellan. It started out as a course with one cone that was positioned about 50 feet from the starting line in a clear path. Participating robots drove autonomously from the starting line to the cone. The robots received points if they touched the cone and stopped.

In 2014, the distance between the starting cone and the target cone was increased to 100 yards. The path between the starting line and the target cone continued to have no obstacles. However, the course could have high grass, holes, and other terrain irregularities. The robots could score points for: coming close to the cone and not stopping (1 pt), being close to the cone and stopping (1 pt), touching the cone and stopping (1 pt).  A perfect score was 3 points.

In 2015 the name was changed to RoboColumbus Plus and  the course was expanded by an extra cone that had no clear path from the first target or home cones. The distance between each of the 3 cones (target 1- clear path, target 2 – obstacles in path, and home cone – obstacles in path) was kept at 100 yards. Scoring was similar to what was done in 2014. A prefect score was 9 points. Time of run determined winners when multiple robots achieved 9 points. This new contest and scoring method has worked well for both beginning and seasoned contestants. It allows beginners to see progress, yet challenges seasoned roboticists.

This year three roboticists participated. Two robots, jBot and B.U.R.P., scored perfect scores of 9 points. The remaining robot, Rover 3, came close to all three cones to score 3 points. B.U.R.P, which participated in the 2015 RoboColumbus Plus sported major improvements this year. Besides major software enhancements, it had a completely new obstacle avoidance sensor array with motorized pitch adjustment, new encoders, new IMU, and also added a camera and GPS. The winning robot, jBot, has achieved perfect scores for 2 years running.

robocolubus_nov_2016_winnersDoug Paradis (rover3 – 3rd),   David Anderson (jBot – 1st),   Scott Gibson (B.U.R.P. – 2nd)


The robot runs can be seen on youTube at RoboColumbus Plus 2016