3D Robotics



Entries for Sparkfun's 2011 Autonomous Vehicle Competition are now open. The event is on April 23rd in Boulder, Colorado at Sparkfun HQ. This is the third year of the AVC. In the first year a DIY Drones team came in first, in the second year we (Doug Weibel!) came in second. Let's not make this an arithmetic pattern!


Here are the new rules for aircraft. Looks like precision landings, low altitude, and autonomous (no hands) take-offs will be winning tactics. Hello, quadcopters!


Air Vehicle Rules:

  • Must also go around all four exterior walls of the building.
  • The lap time will be calculated from when the Judge says 'Go' to when the plane comes to a halt in the back parking lot. A landing (autonomous or manned) outside the rear parking lot will disqualify the lap time.
  • Weather permitting, balloons on long freaking strings will be launched from the four corners of the building. The balloons will serve as guides for the judges/competitors as to the location of the corners/walls of which the non-ground vehicles must circumnavigate.
  • Regardless of weather/wind, the vehicles must clear the four exterior walls/corners of the building (not the balloons), verification of clearing the vertical plane will be up to the four line judges.
  • Autonomous take off is worth a 10 second reduction from raw time.
  • Wheel carriages are allowed for aircraft that don't have their own wheels. Human assisted take-off (throwing a plane) is not considered autonomous.
  • Autonomous landing (coming to a halt) within the indicated box is worth a 30 second reduction in time
  • Within SFE back lot parking area (not in the box, but must be on our blacktop) gets a 10 second reduction in raw time.
  • Time reductions will also be awarded for the three planes that have the lowest peak altitude. To calculate this altitude, SFE will have devices available (likely made up of DEV-09530SEN-09694 and PRT-00731, came in at 6.71g), weighing no more that 15 grams, to be placed on the UAV by the Judge via double-sided tape on the day of the race. A 60 second reduction goes to the lowest peak, 30 seconds for the second lowest, and 15 seconds for the third lowest. Competitors may also opt not to carry these devices and forego the possibility of a reduced time.


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  • Thanks Doug,


    Though now it looks like I won't be able to go after the day I've had today. Between taxes this year and a mailbox traffic ticket from DC (I was there for training on an federal funded kids education outreach program called SeaPerch I plan to bring to a local kids museum no less) I have over $1k in unexpected expenses. I can't justify travel costs from Florida after that bill. O well, maybe next time.

  • Moderator
    Which box did we pack the Google earth models of the building away into last year after it finished. Could be useful for those simulating the comp first?
  • Developer
    Bill - Boulder Twin Lakes Inn is the only hotel within "walking" distance of Sparkfun, and it is a bit of a hike at that. If you will have a car anyway there are plenty of hotels in Boulder and Longmont. There are several hotels in the SW corner of Longmont that would probably give the best mix of access and economy.
  • Michael,


    That just made my morning. I think I'm going to be laughing for a while.

  • The American Medical Association most likely fully endorses this type of competition to help develop autonomous flight necessary to aid in the future use of uav informatics to enhance situational awareness in the event of a mass casualty incident.  Thumbs up..we're good to go..let em rip!
  • What thinks the AMA about the rules for airplanes in this competition?

    Please give Trappy a free flight permit for the white house area. This is much less dangerous.


  • Just bought a entry, though I will be going with a ground vehicle.


    Any advice (what hotel to stay at, etc) to a rookie?

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