AVC 2015 Rules


Each team is given three attempts throughout the day to earn points. You will be called when it is time to bring your vehicle to the starting zone and if you are not ready, you will forfeit that run and receive no points. You will receive a heat schedule the day of the event letting you know an approximate time for each of your three runs. If you need to wait for GPS lock or a setup routine, you will need to do this beforehand (in the pits) before your run starts. Allowances for unforeseen delays will be taken into account, but will be up to the head judge. Please notify SparkFun staff if you have an issue that prevents you from competing on schedule. Repairs, bad code, gremlins or dead batteries do not count. Be prepared for anything and everything.

The team with the most points goes home with the glory. Prizes are given for the top three teams in each category. All teams are scored and ranked by the total number of points accrued in three runs. Each run will add more points to the team’s overall score, and the team with the highest points wins.


A successful run is one where the vehicle navigates around the four waypoints (yellow stanchions) and crosses the finish line in under five minutes. Time-based points start at 300 and are deducted (one per second) until the run is completed. You cannot get negative points for time. Time points only count if your run is successful. Each successful run will be given points based on the time it took the vehicle to finish the course, plus whatever bonuses were achieved.

The vehicle must be fully autonomous and self-contained. No transmitters or communication beacons (other than GPS) of any kind are allowed. You may NOT tether to a laptop or other device. Everything necessary for the vehicle’s navigation/processing/sensing must be attached and part of the vehicle itself.

The ground course will be closed to both spectators and participants. Participants with vehicles currently running may follow within the inner perimeter of the course, but may not be on the course with the vehicles when they are running. You will be expected to make all necessary measurements, adjustments, and sensor readings before the event starts. Once the first heat is started, no one except competing vehicles and their teams may be on the course.

We will be running five vehicles at a time. You will line up on the start/finish line, wait for a signal, and press a button to start your robot. Do not use a delay or some other mechanism to start your robot. It must be in a ready position, and be started with a physical input (button, switch, etc). It may not be started wirelessly. It is suggested that your vehicle have a GPS lock in the pits, be on, and be simply waiting for a button to start driving.

Bonus Points

Bonus points are given for completing special tasks during a run. Once earned, they cannot be taken away. You can score bonus points even if you do not complete a successful run.

  • 50 - passing through the hoop
  • 50 - clearing the ramp
  • 150 - making it through the shortcut
  • 150 - bonus for not using GPS
  • 25 - each successful corner cleared (vehicle must completely clear the corner, not just reach it)


  • Team completes a run in 2.5 minutes and passes under hoop. this team would score 150 points for their time, 25 points for each completed corner (100 points), and 50 points for the hoop bonus. Their total score would be 300 (150+100+50 = 300).
  • Team does not complete course, but goes around three corners and clears the hoop and ramp. They would score no points for time (did not complete course), but would receive 75 points for three successful corners, 50 points for the hoop, and 50 points for the ramp. They would end up with a total of 175 points for the run.
  • Team completes course in one minute, but does not clear the ramp or the hoop. They would get 240 points for time and 100 points for successfully clearing all four corners. Their total score would be 340.
  • Team completes course in 4 minutes without the aid of GPS and gains no additional bonuses. They would get 60 points for time, 150 bonus points for not using GPS, and 100 points for all 4 corners for a total of 310.
  • Team completes the course, successfully passing through the shortcut of doom in 1 minutes and 15 seconds. They would get 225 points for time, 150 points for the shortcut, and 100 points for 4 successful corners. Their total would be 475 points.

Combat Robot Rules

To keep things standard we are adopting and following the rules set forth by the SPARC organization.

An Antweight robot is defined in the rules as a:

  • 1lb / 454g rolling robot (wheels)
  • 1.5lb / 681g shuffle robot (any walking mechanism derived from continuous rotary motion)
  • 2lb / 908g non-wheeled robot (linear walking mechanisms or non-rotational motion)

A Beetleweight Robot is defined in the rules as a:

  • 3lb / 1.36kg rolling robot (wheels)
  • 4.5lb / 2kg shuffle robot (any walking mechanism derived from continuous rotary motion)
  • 6lb / 2.7kg non-wheeled robot (linear walking mechanisms or non-rotational motion)

Some rule highlights and additional information:

  • Robots may be radio-controlled OR autonomous.
  • Autonomous robots must have a radio to disable the robot.
  • Robots may be fully or partially autonomous.
  • All radios must have fail-safe capability that can be demonstrated to shut down the robot when the transmitter looses power (section 6.4.1).
  • All radios must be capable of changing channels to avoid conflicts with other robots (section 6.4.2).
  • All home-built radios must seek approval prior to event (we don't want you to show up with a non-compliant radio system).
  • All robots must have a visible indicator light for each power source available.
  • We will allow Internal Combustion engines so long as they meet the fuel requirements outlined in the rules document.
  • We will allow flame weapons so long as the fuel is butane and the pressure vessel is an off-the-shelf component.