Race to the Wall, February 2015 – Rules and Information

This semester’s Race to the Wall event will take place next week. Each team must complete the task during their normal scheduled RoboSumo lab time.

  • DT066 teams must complete it on Wednesday 25th February 2015 between the hours of 15:00 and 18:00.
  • DT009 teams must complete it on Friday 27th February 2015 during their normal scheduled lab session (either between 10:00 and 13:00 or between 13:00 and 16:00)

Completion of the task outside a team’s designated time window will be at the discretion of the RoboSumo tutors.

Before stating the rules formally, here’s a quick introduction:

(Editable SVG versions of gallery images: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)


The Competition

The competition requires each robot to compete in a time-trial race. Robots perform the time trial one at a time and are ranked on a leaderboard. The objective is to complete the race as quickly as possible.

The results of the race will be used to determine your robot’s starting position on the RoboSumo Leaderboard for the final RoboSumo competition. The format of this year’s RoboSumo tournament is still to be finalised, but in previous years’ tournaments starting higher on the leaderboard was a significant advantage.

In the event of a tie between two or more robots in the Race to the Wall, the position on the leaderboard will be determined by an assessment of the quality of the robot construction.

The Race

The robot begins in a starting position before the start/finish line (see Figure 1). A team member switches on the robot’s power or presses a start switch, then withdraws. Team members may not physically propel the robot. Once the robot is activated, team members may not intervene or interfere with it in any way for the full duration of the task.

The robot must do the following:

  • Move forward autonomously from the starting position,
  • Break the start/finish laser beam once and only once (the first of two times during the race),
  • Continue moving forward until it touches a block,
  • Move back towards the start/finish line,
  • Stop on the start/finish line within the 20 second time limit, breaking the start/finish laser beam for the second and final time. The beam must remain continuously broken for a minimum of 2 seconds.

When the robot returns to and stops on the start/finish line, if the beam becomes unbroken within 2 seconds the robot is disqualified and the time is not recorded on the leaderboard. Disqualification for this reason does not prevent a robot from attempting the task again.

If the robot successfully completes the task, the time recorded will be the time between the first and second breaking of the beam. Each team can attempt the task an unlimited number of times during the specified hours of the event. However, if others are waiting to attempt the task, a team must return to the back of the queue following each attempt. At the discretion of the tutors, teams who have not yet recorded a time may be given priority over teams who have already recorded a time but wish to attempt the task again to improve it.

The Robot

The robot must satisfy the criteria for the mini-sumo class in the Robot Challenge robot sumo rules, with the following additional requirements:

  • At every moment during the race, there must exist a cuboid 10cm in horizontal length, 10cm in horizontal width and of unlimited height which encloses every part of the robot. In other words, the dimensions of a robot cannot expand outside its 10cm x 10cm footprint at any time during a race.
  • The sides of the robot must be covered with an opaque material so that the robot reliably breaks the start/finish laser beam once and only once as it passes through it.

The key features are:

  • The robot must be fully autonomous.
  • The footprint of the robot (its shape / area when viewed from above) must fit within a 10cm by 10cm square.
  • The robot’s mass must not exceed 0.5kg.


Figure 1: The Race to the Wall track. (Click here to download editable SVG version of image)

The Track

The race will take place on a flat horizontal light-coloured surface (probably one or more tables) in room KEG-036. One end of the track is marked with a dark line of tape (the start/finish line). A block stands at the other end of the track. The track is between 1m and 2m in length (from the start/finish line to the block). The start/finish line is parallel to the vertical face of the block.

The Start/Finish Laser Beam

The laser beam is used to start and stop the timer for the race, and is used to accurately measure each robot’s race time. The laser will be in a fixed position at a height of 5cm and will be aimed horizontally across the track, above (and parallel to) the start/finish line.

The Block

The block is a solid object at least 20cm high and 50cm wide. It will be positioned such that its face is perpendicular to the table surface and parallel to the shorter edge of the table, as shown in Figure 1. The position of the block will be otherwise unspecified but will be the same for each competing robot.

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6 Responses to Race to the Wall, February 2015 – Rules and Information

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