AVC 2011 Third annual - April 23rd, 2011

SparkFun’s third annual Autonomous Vehicle Competition was held April 23rd, 2011 at SparkFun Headquarters in Boulder, CO.

This year featured aerial and ground vehicles including the introduction of quadcopters. Aerial teams were limited to 15 but ground teams were unlimited. In total 46 vehicles competed.


Air Vehicle Class

Place Team Official Time
1st Robota 1 minute and 17 seconds
2nd Plan B 1 minute and 27 seconds
3rd Lawn Dart 1 minute and 43 seconds

Ground Vehicle Class

Place Team Official Time
1st Tobor 25 seconds
2nd Minuteman 26 seconds
3rd Zyzzyx 55 seconds

Official Rules

Ground Vehicle Rules

  • Ground Vehicles are only required to go around all four exterior walls of the building. No exact course will be marked, but sections will be roped off to keep spectators off of the main expected course.
  • No environmental modifications allowed (competitors may not put down tape, IR beacons, or any other temporary or semi-permanent marks).
  • There will be 4 large barrels placed as obstacles on the course, spaced no closer than 15 feet to each other, positions to be determined on race day.
  • Raw times for each run will be calculated from when a ground vehicle first crosses the start/finish line, goes around the building, and again crosses the start finish line. If a vehicle becomes stuck for more than 60 seconds it is disqualified for that run (that’s usually enough time to determine that there’s a problem).
  • There will be a 3 foot diameter arch (imagine croquet) located somewhere on the course, actual position to be determined on race day. Any ground vehicle that goes through the hoop gets 30 seconds off their official time for that run. The arch will be painted red for ease of optical identification, and a picture of this arch will be made available before race day for all competitors to see.
  • Max time limit per run is 5 minutes.
  • Kill switches are required for vehicles over 30 pounds, to be demonstrated to the judges on race day.

Air Vehicle Rules

  • Air Vehicles 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 do not 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-09530, SEN-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.


Race Day Photos

AVC 2011 AVC 2011 AVC 2011 AVC 2011 AVC 2011 AVC 2011 AVC 2011

Course Preview Video

Recap Video

Special Awards

Crowd's Choice · Most entertaining AVCaurus Rex
Engineer's Choice · Best technical design Plan B
Kill Switch Award · Most dangerous DIY Drones
Water Hazard Award · Finds the pond and/or stream Jombies (found the pond - twice)
Rookie Award · Best first-time competitor Viator
Best Dressed · Most interesting costume/vehicle Dr. Zeus' Magical Flaming Banana