Missions

It is the future.  The first manned mission to Mars is getting underway, and you have work to do.  You and your team of NASA roboticists have been given the job of designing, building, programming, and running a robot to perform 3 vital missions for your Martian colony.

  • Recover Data:  A rover was sent ahead to scout the entire area and gather data for the colonists.  However, it went missing before it could send its data back to Earth. The rover’s last known position is marked “2” on the map. Your robot’s first mission is to travel through the Valles Marineris from “1”Œ to the rover’s last known position as quickly as possible and attempt to recover the valuable data. To make sure your robot doesn’t get stuck, you should probably try to stay in the middle of the valley and away from the rough terrain at the edges.
  • Survey Route: Your colony’s site is on a plateau above the Valles Marineris, marked by “S” on the map. But the resources your colony needs are located in the plain beyond plateau, marked “F” on the map. And the plateau is covered in dangerous fissures and cracks. Your robot needs to survey this plateau square by square and discover the shortest safe route across from your colony to the mineral exploration area beyond. This is your robot’s most important mission.
  • Claim Mineral Resources:  There are valuable mineral resources located in the craters marked “A”, “B”, and “C”.  However, there are other teams attempting to colonize Mars.  To make things fair for everybody, an international agreement has been reached that will allow each team to use their own autonomous robot to attempt to claim one of the craters for their team.  All of the robots will start somewhere on the zig-zag line.  None of the robots are allowed to have maps of the terrain inside the blue lines, so each robot will have to figure it out as it goes.  Your robot needs to be the first to enter one of the craters and claim it for your colony.

rules-diagram

Your robot isn’t the only one with missions to perform; your team also has 2 missions it needs to perform.

  • Technical Briefing:  Your team must brief the Senior Mission Commanders, who are staying on Earth, about the programming, design, and construction of your team’s robot.  They need to understand your robot’s capabilities, the programming techniques you used, and your team’s strategies to accomplish the 3 robotic missions.
  • Public Relations:  You are famous astronauts on the most important mission in the history of mankind, colonizing Mars!  The public is intensely curious about the mission, about your robot, and about your team.  As part of your mission duties, your team will spend some time talking to the people back home, answering questions and inspiring the next generation of astronauts!

Scoring

Winners will be determined based upon the points earned for each Mission. Please see the Mission sections below for detailed descriptions of each Mission. Each team will only get one score per Mission.

Mission 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place Completion Participation Time Limit
Recover Data 500 400 300 200 100 1 run 5 minutes plus 5 minutes
Survey Route* 3000 2000 1000 450 100 20 minutes
Claim Mineral Resources 400 300 200 —– 100 20 minutes
Technical Briefing 2000 1500 1000 * 500 15 minutes plus 5 minutes
Public Relations —- —- —- —- 250 30 minutes

 

ROBOT MISSIONS

Recover Data

  1. Goal: Be the fastest robot from the Start line to the Finish line.
  2. The robot must start behind completely behind the Start line.
  3. The robot must start centered from side to side.
  4. Time starts when the referee says “Go!”
  5. The time is recorded when any part of the robot crosses the finish line.
    1.  The robot may not change shape or use an extension to cross the finish line earlier.
  6. The robot will be given 3 attempts.
  7. Only the fastest time counts.
  8. Points (See the table above for all point values):
    1. Points will be given for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fastest times.
    2. Completion points will be given if the robot crosses the Finish line.
    3. Participation points will be given if the robot crosses the Start line.
  9. You forfeit your run if the team is not present or the robot is not ready when it is  your team’s turn to go.
  10. Scheduling: The teams will schedule their first race start time during registration at the beginning of the competition. Subsequent start times will be determined after each team has raced but every attempt will be made not to interfere with other challenges going on at the same time therefore subsequent races may be delayed or rearranged if there is a conflict.

Survey Route

  1. Goal: Travel the maze from the Start cell to the Finish cell by the shortest path.
  2. The robot must learn the shortest route.
    1. There is no manual map data entry, no remote control, and no remote processing.
  3. The maze will be no larger than 5 x 15 cells.
  4. The Start cell will be on one of the short sides of the maze.
  5. The Finish cell will be on the other short side of the maze.
    1. The Finish cell has an infrared beacon to allow the robot to know that it is the last cell.
    2. The infrared beacon is mounted low and may be obscured until the robot has a line of sight into the Finish cell.
  6. There are 2 types of robot runs; Mapping and Solution.
  7. Mapping runs allow your robot to explore the maze and attempt to learn the shortest path from “Start” to “Finish”.
  8. During a “Mapping” run you may handle the robot if there is a problem with the robot, this includes picking it up and restarting it at the “Start” cell or pressing a button on the robot to let it know that it has found the final cell.
  9. “Solution” runs are judged by the referees.  You must make sure the referees know that you are attempting a “Solution” run before you start the robot or it won’t count.
  10. During a “Solution” run the referees will be closely observing the robot and counting the number of “wrong turns” the robot makes on its way to the “Finish” cell.
  11. If the robot puts more than half of itself into a cell that is not part of the shortest path, it will be scored as a “wrong turn”.
  12. If you touch the robot during a “Solution” run, that run is over and you must restart the robot in the “Start” cell.
  13. The robot must cross the center of the “Finish” cell to complete the “Solution” run.
  14. The robot must indicate success in some way, such as stopping in the “Finish” cell by itself or doing a victory dance.
  15. The robot can be run as many times as the team wishes, but the team only has 20 minutes to run the robot.  There is one exception to this rule.  If the robot is 75% or more through its “Solution” run at the end of 20 the minutes, it will be allowed to finish that “Solution” run attempt.
  16. Points (See Table 1 for all point values.)
    1. 1st place points will be given to the robot which makes no wrong turns. 2nd place points will be given to the robot which makes one wrong turns. 3rd place points will be given to the robot which makes two wrong turns. No points will be given if the robot makes more than two wrong turns.
    2. Completion points will be given if the robot crosses the center of the “Finish” cell.
    3. Participation points will be given if the robot exits the “Start” cell.
  17. You forfeit your run if the team is not present or the robot is not ready when it is your team’s turn to go.
  18. Scheduling: The teams will schedule their start time during registration at the beginning of the competition. A team may finish early but the start time for the next team will NOT be adjusted.

Maze 2Maze

Claim Mineral Resources

  1. Goal: Be the first robot into one of the 3 craters.
  2. Each crater will have an infrared beacon.
  3. The robot must touch the front plate of the beacon.
    1. This will activate a signal lamp, but the lamp is not required to be activated.
    2. Beacons will be deactivated after a robot taps it.
  4. No one is allowed into the arena after the start except the referees.
  5. Points (See table above for all point values.)
    1. 1st place points will be given to the robot which taps beacon first.
    2. 2nd place points will be given to the robot which taps a beacon second.
    3. 3rd place points will be given to the robot which taps a beacon third.
    4. Participation points will be given if the robot clears the starting cell.
  6. Scheduling: This mission starts at the same time for all robots but the start position will be selected by the Team Captain. The selection order will be the reverse of the current standings for all teams.

 

TEAM MISSIONS

Technical Briefing

Goal: Communicate the programming, strategies, and construction of your robot to the Chief Mission Officers. All team members must participate in explaining the details of the software and hardware used by the team.

A table and projector will be provided. The team will provide a connector or adapter to the VGA input of the projector.

The presentations should include:

  1. The overall choice of hardware and software, and the relationship between the hardware and the software.
  2. Strategies and algorithms for each of the elements of the competition, including how autonomy and learning is implemented.
  3. Lessons learned and the decision making process: what the team has tried, which has worked, and which issues were found with hard- and software.

For the presentation the team may use:

  1. Any oral and physical demonstration requiring nothing but the human body.
  2. Posters and computer presentations with speaking points, diagrams and pictures.
  3. Hardware, such as robots, circuit boards and tools.

Points (See Table 1 for all point values.)

  1. 1st place points will be given to the team with the highest briefing score.
  2. 2nd place points will be given to the team with the second highest briefing score.
  3. 3rd place points will be given to the team with the third highest briefing score.

Each team will receive a briefing score within the range of 500 to 999 and will count as the points except as described in 4.6.1, 4.6.2, and 4.6.3.

Scheduling: The teams will schedule their presentation start time during registration at the beginning of the competition.

Public Relations

  1. Goal: Answer questions and inspire the next generation.
  2. Present a brief overview of the team’s robot to the public.
  3. Present a brief overview of the robot missions to the public.
  4. Points (See Table 1 for all point values.)
  5. You forfeit your points if the team is not present or the robot is not ready when it is your team’s turn to go.
  6. Scheduling: The teams will schedule their presentation start time during registration at the beginning of the competition.

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