These rules were created by the Portland Area Robotics Society (PARTS) for their annual PDXBOT. The Seattle Robotics Society (SRS) has made adjustments to the qualification criteria for the race categories, but otherwise the rules are identical.
Robots will follow a line from a starting location to a finish line. The robot that accomplishes that goal in the shortest time is the winner.
The Line Following course is a 3/4" non-crossing line with curves no tighter than 6" in radius.
Robots must be autonomous. Data links to off-board computers are allowed, but no wetware (human) operated remote controls will be permitted.
The length, width, and weight of a robot are not specified in this contest. The only requirement is that the robot must remain on the course during the event. It is the designers' responsibility to design the robot to accomplish its task.
The maximum robot height is not applicable for the Line Following course, but no robot that is deemed by race officials to be harmful or damaging to either people or the course will be permitted.
A sample track will be available for "test drives" prior to the competition, to perform testing and calibration.
All robots must be ready to run at the start of the contest. The order of running will be randomly assigned. Before the contest starts, all contestants are invited to examine the course. Any issues the contestants have with the course (smudges, uneven surfaces, etc.) must be brought to the attention of the judges at this time.
When it is his or her turn, a contestant may perform a quick calibration (e.g. metering black and white) before starting the run. The contestant starts a match by pressing a start button. Timing of the run will begin when the robot crosses the "START" line.
Once a match has started, no contestant or official may touch the track or interfere with the robots in any way except to reset a robot as stated below. Resets are done only by the race official.
If time permits, after all robots have made one run, robots may make a second run. The score for each robot will be the better of its two scores. No robot modifications are permitted between runs!
Races may be run in matches of two robots, on separate tracks of equal length, or they may be solitary timed events.
Each race is timed; the robot with the lowest total time wins the match.
If the track is open-ended, the time is to the end of the line. If the track is a closed loop, the time is to the start/end line after the specified number of laps.
After the initial start, a contestant may not operate a robot. All manipulation of the robot is to be done only by the tournament official.
A machine that has no part of its structure over the course line, or is clearly not steering in response to the course line, is no longer tracking the course line.
An official may reset a machine that is no longer tracking the course line.
Resetting a machine onto the course incurs a 5-second penalty (plus how ever much time it takes the official to replace it). Placement is to be at the previous turn or hazard.
Decisions regarding whether a machine is tracking the course line are made only by a track official.
A robot's run ends when it has completed the course, or it is deemed by the official to be unable to track the line, or at the end of 3 minutes.
Accuracy in completing the event is ranked above speed.
Final scoring shall be as follows:
Entries that have completed the course with no penalties shall be ranked in order of fastest time.
Entries that have been assessed penalties shall be ranked in the order of lowest combined time and penalty points.
If no robots complete the course, the robots shall be ranked by total distance traveled before the first reset, as determined by the match official.
Questions or comments about these rules should be directed to contests or the Seattle Robotics Yahoo Group.
The latest version of these rules is posted at <http://www.robothon.org/robothon/line.php>.