Print Page  |  Contact Us  |  Sign In  |  Become an ATMAE Member
2017 Robotics Competition Rules
Share |
2017 Robotics Competition Rules

Robotics Competition

Register Online





ATMAE 50th Anniversary Annual Conference
November 1-3, 2017
Hilton Cincinnati Netherlands Plaza
Cincinnati, OH

Competition Events

The events within the ATMAE 2017 Robotics Challenge have been designed to bring you and your teammates together. The focus of the event is to allow the strengths of each teammate to contribute to the overall success of the team. It is important that teams be constrained to a five or fewer people to allow everyone on the team to contribute to the final project. It is also important that cost be considered, as this is a typical constraint within real world projects. The overall winner of these events is determined by points acquired by the technical report, competing in the obstacle course and competing in the cornhole challenge. Each of these events has been designed to challenge your team to use your engineering skills to design, develop, test and compete against teams at the 2017 ATMAE National Conference in Cincinnati Ohio on November 1-3 2017.

Breakdown of Scoring Opportunities

Component   Possible Points  Method of Point Determination
Written Report   Up to 5 Average determined by judges rubrics 
Group Presentation  Up to 5   Average determined by judges rubrics
 Obstacle Course  Up to 5 Refer to Competition Rules for Scoring 
 Cornhole Challenge Up to 7   Refer to Competition Rules for Scoring


In the event of a tie, the two teams will use their robots to compete in a game of cornhole. Each team will start with five (5) hacky sacks and will have 15 minutes to attempt to score on their designated cornhole board. Teams will be awarded one point for achieving a hacky sack on the board and two points for achieving a hacky sack in the hole. Scoring rules will be constant with the rules defined for the cornhole event in the later part of this document. In the event that each of the two teams achieve the same score in the tie breaker event, the winner will be determined by the team which completed the course first.


Team Requirements

  1. There shall be no more than five (5) members to a team.
  2. ATMAE chapters are allowed to have multiple teams.
  3. Student participants will have at least one of the defined positions.
  4. The defined positions within the team shall be defined as follows:
    • Project Manager – Responsible for managing the project and documentation.
    • Engineering Manager – Responsible for robot design and CAD
    • Software Manager – Responsible for software development
    • Hardware Manager- Responsible for integrating mechanical and electromechanical systems
    • Engineering Lead- Responsible for robot testing and validation
  5. Students may have more than one defined role if there are fewer than five (5) team members.

Robot Requirements

The footprint of the robot must be within 14L” X 14W” X 9H” to be eligible to compete.

The team will provide a costed bill of materials as part of their technical report. The cost of the robot must not exceed $1,200.00. Spare parts and extra batteries are not included in this total cost. Parts that are donated must have an equivalent part identified and costed. Fabricated parts are determined by the cost of the raw material. Machine time on fabricated parts is not considered as part of the cost of the part, nor is the cost of overhead or consumable items used in the production of the products. Consumable items are items such as sand paper, coolant for milling machines and other items that are used in the production of the robot, but are not listed in the bill of materials. Do not account for these in the cost of the robot.

Written Report Requirements

At a minimum, teams must submit a report for the robot including these sections:

  1. Overview of the Team
  2. Overview of the Robot
  3. Detailed and Costed BoM (with total cost)
  4. Engineering Drawings (for each fabricated component)
  5. Wiring Diagram
  6. Final Robotic Assembly
  7. One page experience document from each team member

A digital copy of the final written report is due two (2) weeks before the competition. 

Presentation Requirements

Each team will present at the 2017 ATMAE conference. Each team member is required to give an equal portion of the presentation. Judges will rate the presentations, which will determine the scoring of the presentation. Teams will be ranked based on the compiled scores from the judges.

The Robotics Course Configuration

Robots are not allowed to leave the designated competition area. The competition area will be rectangular and will not be less than 25’ square (represented by the blue rectangle illustrated in Figure 1). Each robot will begin in a marked 2’X2’ robot home box positioned next to the drive box (represented by the white rectangle illustrated in Figure 1). The driver box will be not less than 5’X5’ and will be placed adjacent to the course (represented by the red rectangle illustrated in Figure 1). Each team event will use this configuration.

Figure 1:  General Course Configuration (Not to scale)

Robot Obstacle Course

This event will challenge the teams to complete tasks in an obstacle course to earn hacky sacks for one point. The official hacky sack shall be the dirtbag footbag classic sand filled hacky which weighs 58 grams and has a nominal diameter of 2.25” (CLICK HERE for the Amazon link). Each hacky sack gathered earns one point and translates into an opportunity to score additional points in the cornhole challenge. A driver box will be defined, and the pilot of the robot must be within this box at all times. Other team members are allowed to act as spotters for the operator, but they may not get within 3’ of any obstacle. Teams are required to cycle their drivers between obstacles, and are not allowed to repeat drivers until each team member has competed. Teams have a maximum of 3 minutes to complete each attempt. Team order will be determined by random draw at the beginning of the event. Operators may not repeat until all of the team members have piloted the robot. Teams are allowed to select their order of drivers and the order of obstacles attempted.

In the event of a robot failure, teams may forfeit one point for one 15 minute period to perform repairs. This may be done only once during the obstacle course and the cornhole challenge. Teams may not repair their robot during both events.

There will be 5 obstacles:

  1. Under – CLICK HERE A hacky sack will be placed under a 5 lb. weight.
  2.  Inside – A hacky sack will be placed in the middle of a 10” section of 4” PVC pipe. The pipe will be placed on its side.
  3. Through – A hacky sack will be centered inside of a 10” X 12” X 15” bankers box. The bankers box will have a rectangular tunnel cut that are 14.5” X 9” centered along the long edge of the bankers box. The opening will be turned away from the direct line of sight of the operator.
  4. Ontop – CLICK HERE A hacky sack will be placed on top of a 5 lb. weight.
  5. Freedom – A hacky sack will be placed on the ground approximately centered in the obstacle course. 

Teams are allowed to request that the judge reset each obstacle once during the challenge if desired.

If a team cannot perform a challenge, they do not get that point and they forfeit the opportunity to use that hacky sack to score in the cornhole challenge.

There is not a penalty for not completing an obstacle.

Teams must avoid exiting the ATMAE robot course. Teams will be penalized one point for each time the robot completely exits the robot course. This penalty will be determined by the judges of the event.

Obstacles will be positioned in a line with no less than 3’ between obstacles. A guide tape may (or may not) be used to assist judges with the consistent positioning of obstacles.

Robots are not required to carry all of the hacky sacks. Teams are allowed to bank their hacky sacks by bringing them and dropping them in the robot home box (reference Figure 1). Team members are not allowed to touch the hacky sacks at any time. Touching a hacky sack during the team’s time to compete in the event (even with your feet by accident) results in a (1) point penalty.

The Cornhole Challenge

The objective of the cornhole challenge is to allow teams to score additional points. Each team is allowed to attempt one challenge for each hacky sack that was collected during the obstacle course. Teams are required to start with an autonomous challenge, then pursue one of the cornhole board challenges, then an autonomous challenge followed by the final cornhole challenge and the final autonomous challenge. Teams are required to cycle their drivers between obstacles, and are not allowed to repeat drivers until each team member has competed. Teams have a maximum of 3 minutes to complete each attempt. Team order will be determined by random draw at the beginning of the event.

General Rules

The robot can start preloaded with as many hacky sacks desired of the earned hacky sacks from the obstacle challenge. This will be between (1) one and (5) five. The robot can also start with hacky sacks placed on the ground within the robot home box if the team intends to retrieve the hacky sacks from this area during the event. Placement of the hacky sacks can be determined by the competing team. The robot and all of the hacky sacks must be within the robot home box when the competition starts.

Cornhole boards and autonomous challenges will be at least (3) three feet from the course border.

Team members can be around the border of the course, but at no time can they be within the border of the course.

Permission must be requested to from the event judge before a team member can enter the event course.

Failure to do so will result in a verbal warning for the first offense, and a (1) one point penalty for the second and subsequent offenses.

Teams have a total of 15 minutes to complete this event.

The cornhole supplier of the boards shall be: Specifically, this is the board that we will be using:

Teams are not allowed to provide their own hacky sacks, nor are they allowed to modify the hacky sacks in any way.

In the event of a failure, teams may forfeit one point for one 15-minute period to perform repairs. This may be done once during either the obstacle course or the cornhole challenge.

Teams are allowed to change batteries between obstacles in between challenges, but they may not perform any other modifications or repairs to their robot. Teams should be mindful of this constraint and design their robot to facilitate quick battery changes. If a team is not ready to compete during their turn, they will lose one point and consume their one allowed 15-minute repair timeout.

Description of the Scoring Challenges

Cornhole Obstacles

The robot must attempt to use the hacky sack to score on a 1/2 scale cornhole board. If a team can get a hacky sack on the board, they will achieve 1 point. If they can get the hacky sack to drop through the hole on the board, they will achieve 2 points. A robot can contact the board during its attempt to score without penalty. A robot may not contact the board after it has released the hacky sack in an attempt to score. A hacky sack is scored once it is at rest for longer than 1 second as determined by the judge.

Autonomous Obstacles 

The robot must autonomously drop a hacky sack into a cup to score 1 point. The official scoring cup is a typical white 4” PVC endcap.

This endcap will be placed at the center of a cross constructed of aluminized tape. The legs of the cross will be approximately 12” long (28” total length”). A stripe of black electrical tape will be placed along the center of the aluminized tape to assist with the automated guidance of the robot.

Once the robot acquires the line, the operator is required relinquish manual (hands off) control of the robot. They may still hold the controller, but they cannot issue any commands to the robot. Once the robot drops the hacky sack, the operator can resume control of the robot.

A hacky sack that is not completely in the PVC endcap does not score a point. Teams may request that the judge reset the cup once per autonomous challenge (3 times total).

Orientation of the Course

Two of the cornhole game boards will placed facing each other as oriented during a typical game of cornhole. This is illustrated in Figure 2.

Three autonomous scoring stations will be placed within the course. A typical arrangement of the course is illustrated in Figure 2. The yellow crosses represent the autonomous scoring portion of the challenge.

The operator will be positioned within the 5’ square driver’s box (Illustrated by the red rectangle in Figure 2).

The robot and hacky sacks will be positioned within the 2’ square robot home box (Illustrated by the white rectangle in Figure 2).

Figure 2: A Typical Cornhole Challenge Arrangement

Robot Tag

In this single elimination event the team will attempt to capture a flag that is magnetically attached to each robot. The flags will be attached to each robot via a small magnet. There will be between (2) two and (4) four robots competing at any one time.

Team order will be determined by random draw of the teams at the event.

Robot tag is typically a single elimination event. Robots will have 5 minutes to capture the flag from their opponent.

Each team will provide a provision for a small magnet (similar to this: CLICK HERE) to be attached to each robot for the Robot Tag event. This provision must be free of additives, which are intended to increase the adhesion of the flag. The flag material will be typical, non-adhesive 1” – 1 3/16” flagging tape similar to this: CLICK HERE

Teams may not provide any mechanical means such as clips, clamps, prongs, teeth or any other mechanism or treatment intended to increase the adhesion of the flag. Teams are allowed to paint the provision to protect it from oxidation if desired, but the purpose of the paint must be to protect the provision, not to increase adhesion of the flag to the robot. Teams may mark their provision to indicate the exact position of the magnet to hold the flag, but they must inform the event judge of the mark before the judge places the flag.

Robot Tag Details and Rules

Teams may not provide any means of protecting the flag. This includes fans.

Teams may not drive in reverse to protect the flag for an extended period of time. Doing so will result in a verbal warning. Subsequent warnings will result in disqualification.

Teams may not provide any means of strengthening the attachment point of the flag such as additional magnets, adhesives or surface treatments other than painting the attachment point.

The flag shall be magnetically attached to each robot by one of the event judges. The flag will then be draped down to the ground. The judge will measure 8” of material on the ground beyond the outer frame of the robot. The judge will trim the flag so that 8” of material engages the ground when the robot is not moving.

In the event that a robot accidentally removes its own flag, the event will be paused and the flag will be replaced without a point penalty. If the robot does this repeatedly (more than 3 times) the opponent will be declared the winner.

Teams are allowed (5) five minutes to swap batteries between rounds if desired.

Teams are allowed to build a mechanism, if desired, to assist with the capturing of an opponent’s flag. This mechanism is allowed to be removable for the other events, but it must be included in the costed bill of materials.

Purposefully aggressive behavior will immediately disqualify a team. This is not a battle!
Robot Tag will be the last competitive event.



Are we allowed to move or pick up the 10" section of 4" pipe in order to get the hacky sack out?



Can we touch the 4" PVC cap during the autonomous portion?  Will it be secured in place or will the robot be able to push it a little?

A "touch" is OK.  Do not move the cap more than 1".  We are not planning on securing the cap at this point.


Will there be a more descriptive course map?  Right now there are just red, white and blue boxes.  We were wondering if there will be a map that shows the positioning of the obstacles and scoring objects within the course?

There will not be a more descriptive map, as I don't want to have to commit to accurately measuring distances between items involved in the event.  There are also some electrical outlets on the floor that I want to try to avoid, so committing to a rigid placement of objects would prevent me from being flexible.


Questions Comments or Concerns?

Please email Dr. Neil Littell at Please include “ATMAE 2017 Robotics Competition Question” in the subject line of the email.

Community Search
Sign In
Login with LinkedIn
Sign In securely

11/1/2017 » 11/3/2017
2017 ATMAE Annual Conference: Constructing a Future for Tomorrow

Latest News
Online Surveys