Robot competition

A robotic competition is an event where robots have to accomplish a task. Usually they have to beat other robots in order to become the best one. Many competitions are for schools but several professional competitions are arising.

Types of competition.
Currently there are several kinds of competitions, the most popular in several countries being line tracking, labyrinth, Cowbots, Sumo wrestling and bipedal races.

In this competition, the participating robots must complete a closed circuit running against each other.

Line tracking
In this competition, the participating robots must follow a line drawn on the ground in the shortest possible time. The complexity of the route may vary.

There are different variants of the labyrinth competition. The test may consist of traversing a labyrinth and finding the exit, or it may include, in addition, the additional proof that the robot must find and remove from the labyrinth one or more objects located at different points of the labyrinth. The labyrinth can be made with walls delimiting the possible paths, or drawn on the ground with a line.

In this test, two robots face each other in a combat arena of a previously known measure. Both robots have a remote weapon and a weapon for close combat. The remote weapon consists of a launcher of some type of projectile, usually very light, that does not cause damage to its objective. The two robots must face each other in the combat zone until one of the two is hit by a projectile from the other, or by their direct fighting weapon.

In this style of competition two robots face within a defined area; The idea is that both try to get mutually out of this area.

Race bipeds.
While in the competitions mentioned above the robots usually have a rounded structure, in the bipedal race face robots whose movement uses two lower extremities (analogous to the lower extremities of the bipedal animals). Robots compete in a straight line, with the winner being the robot that traverses the defined path first.

Robotic competitions have been organized since the 1970s and 1980s. In 1979 a Micromouse competition was organized by the IEEE as shown in the Spectrum magazine.

Although it is difficult to pinpoint the first robotic competition in history two events are well known nowadays for their longevity: the All Japan Sumo from Japan, and the Trinity College International Fire fighting Robot Contest.

Other competitions have grown in popularity with the pass of time, being the Robocup and the Robo One two of the main singular events in current times. In parallel companies like Lego and VEX have developed their own branded events and called them leagues, although they function more like individual cups in regional qualifiers with finals.

There is some controversy whether university specific challenges should be considered competitions or more workshops, in general the trend is to open competitions to the public in order to prevent nepotism and improve the quality of the robots competing at the event.

Some organizations have been trying to standardize robotics competition through the introduction of full-fledged leagues with a standard calendar, but the model as been only working in specific countries like Spain where the National League was founded in 2008 and is still functioning.

Criteria to classify robot competitions
There are many criteria that can be used to classify robot competitions which makes it hard to establish a standard way of referring to them:

Popularity with public or competitors
Indoors versus Outdoors
Branded materials (Lego or VEX) versus Open materials
Minors / students versus Professionals / clubs
Itinerant (Robocup) versus Fixed-location (All Japan Sumo)
Nature of movement: humanoid, wheeled, aerial, aquatic, underwater,…


Major competitions and organizations
All these competitions are indoors, itinerant in their location and showcase different categories. The competitions in this listing have a yearly recurrent major impact in their locations with a huge national impact or an international significant reach. Map in reference

Competition Branded Students / Pros Founded Short description
FIRST Yes (Lego) Students 1992 US-based international organization
BEST Robotics No Students 1993 American student competition
FIRA No Both 1997 Asian organization competing with Robocup
Robocup No Both 1997 Organization similar to FIRA but with more expansion
Battlebots No Pros 2000 American TV Program
RoboRAVE International Yes (Lego) Students 2001 Similar to WRO
ABU Robocon No Students 2002 Asian organization similar to FIRST
Robo One No Both 2002 Asian humanoid reference event
RoboGames (aka Robolympics) No Both 2004 American well known competition
World Robot Olympiad Yes (Lego) Students 2004 Similar to Lego and Vex with less branding
VEX Yes (Vex) Students 2007 The VEX championships
LNRC No Both 2008 Spanish National Robotics League
Robochallenge No Both 2008 Romanian competition with EU reach
Pan-African Robotics Competition No Students 2016 African student competition

Historically relevant competitions
These competitions had an important impact on the evolution of technology, public awareness or other robotic competitions in the world.

Competition In / Out Branded / Open Students / Pros Location Movement Short description Year first run Still active
IEEE Micromouse competition Indoors Open Pros Itinerant Wheeled Mouse labyrinth navigation done in several locations: APEC, Taiwan and Japan 1979 No
All Japan Robot Sumo Indoors Open Both Fixed Wheeled Japanese historic sumo event 1990 Yes
International Aerial Robotics Competition (IARC) Both Open University only 2 Venues Aerial Fully autonomous aerial robots; multi-year missions; 2 simultaneous venues (USA and Asia) 1991 Yes
AUVSI Foundation’s Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC) Outdoors Open Students Fixed Wheeled Students customize autonomous buggies at Oakland University 1993 Yes
Trinity Fire Fighting Robot Competition Indoors Open Both Fixed Wheeled Fire fighting historical event at Trinity College (Connecticut) 1994 Yes
RoboSub and Roboboat Outdoors Open Both Fixed Underwater AUVs innovation in San Diego 1997 Yes
Eurobot Indoors Open Students Itinerant Wheeled Changing normative student event originated in France 1998 Yes
Centennial Challenges Outdoors Open Pros Itinerant Several NASA’s contests for non-government achievements (not strictly a robotics event) 2003 No
European Land-Robot Trial Outdoors Open Pros Itinerant Wheeled Military R&D in Europe (“not organised as a competition but as a trial,”) 2006 Yes
UAV Outback Challenge Outdoors Open Both Fixed Aerial UAVs innovation in Australia 2007 Yes
DARPA Grand Challenge Outdoors Open Pros Fixed Wheeled Autonomous street cars in the USA (in 2019 focus changing to “spectrum collaboration”) 2014 No
Roborace Outdoors Branded Pros Itinerant Wheeled Autonomous Formula E cars TBD ?

Local active competitions
Location for these competitions is fixed, usually linked to a venue or institution.

Competition In / Out Branded / Open Students / Pros Movement Short description Last edition
National Engineering Robotics Contest Indoors Open Students Several A student competition at NUST Active
Maritime RobotX Challenge Outdoors Open Students Water UAVs innovation competition Active
Pioneers in Engineering Indoors Open Students Wheeled Student competition Active
Botball Indoors Open Students Wheeled Student competition ???
Student Robotics Indoors Open Students Several Student competition at the University of Southampton Active
DEF CON Indoors Open Students Several Hacker event with a competition Active

Other active events
This events do not have a Wikipedia page but are sourced on the Internet and seem to be ongoing as of today.

Istanbul Technical University Robot Olympics (abbreviated as ITURO) is a robotics competition that has been hosted by Istanbul Technical University since 2007. The organization is open to undergraduates, graduates and high school students. ITURO is a 3-day organization arranged every spring. Almost 1000 competitors and more than 10000 visitors are hosted every year.

Marine Advanced Technology Education Center Competition
The Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center sponsors an annual international remotely operated vehicle (ROV) competition in partnership with the Marine Technology Society’s ROV Committee. First held in 2002, the competition is open to middle school (grades 5-8), high school (grades 9-12), community and technical college, and four-year university students as well as home-schooled students of comparable grade levels. The competition’s class structure of beginner, beginner/intermediate, intermediate, and advanced provides students with the opportunity to build upon their skills, and the application of those skills, as they engineer increasingly more complex ROVs for increasingly more complex mission tasks.

International METU Robotics Days
The International METU Robotics Days event is hosted annually by the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. The Robotics Days include eight categories of competition as well as lectures, seminars and workshops.
Competition oriented to challenge teams to produce something visually beautiful with robotics – that is, to have a robot use physical brushes and paint to create an artwork. The competition is open to anyone regardless of age or affiliation and any type of robot can be used. Teams can enter up to 6 paintings in each of the competition categories of “original artwork” and “reinterpreted artwork” where a reference image or existing artwork is used as a reference.

Unsourced or discontinued minor competitions
This events do not seem to be continued anymore or have no reference that we can use to consider them active.

OFF Road Robotics Competition
The competition is organized by the Robot Association of Finland.

The goal is to build a robot which is able to move without human help off-road. The competition is held annually at the mid-summer Jämi Fly In air show in Finland. The competition track is randomly selected 10 minutes before competition by the judge, marked with four wooden sticks to make a 200-meter track. The track consists of sand roads and fields containing bushes and rocks. The robots must run outside the sticks from start to finish without human assistance as fast as possible. YouTube movies and pictures from the 2007 and 2008 competitions are available.

International Autonomous Robot Racing Challenge (IARRC)
Student teams from around the world compete in an outdoor racing competition, where small-scale robots race against other robots to the finish line, without any human guidance or control. Their skills are put to test in a static judging event, a drag race and a circuit race event, where the vehicles navigate around obstacles and obey the traffic rules. These robots are finding their way in applications such as space exploration, mining, search and rescue, remote sensing and automotive inspection.

Robot Racing is an effort to promote research in autonomous mobile robotics technology. The competition provides students with engineering design challenges, including components of mechanical, computer, control software, and system integration. Students work together to design and build robotic vehicles that can navigate twisting, obstacle-filled courses without any human guidance or control.

Mobile Autonomous Systems Laboratory competition (Maslab)
The Mobile Autonomous Systems Laboratory, or Maslab, is a university-level vision-based autonomous robotics competition. The competition is open to students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and requires multithreaded applications of image processing, robotic movements, and target ball deposition. The robots are run with Ubuntu Linux and run on an independent OrcBoard platform that facilitates sensor-hardware additions and recognition.

Flying Donkey Challenge
The Flying Donkey Challenge is an escalating series of sub-challenges held annually in Africa with a focus on lifting cargo. The initial challenge is scheduled to take place in Kenya in November 2014 with four enabling technology and design sub-challenges and three non-technical challenges.

Micro Air Vehicle Events
A series of micro air vehicle (MAV) events have been sponsored by organizations including the University of Florida, the U.S. Army, French DGA, Indian Ministry of Defense, and others. For example, the International Micro Air Vehicle conferences (IMAVs) always includes competitions in which capabilities are demonstrated and missions are performed. The goal of most competitions is to stimulate research on full autonomy of the micro air vehicles. Prizes range up to an aggregate value of $600,000 in 2008.

UBBOTS competition
UBBOTS is an annual robot exhibition taking place at Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The teams have to create a robot that helps humans and simplify their life.

Duke Annual Robo-Climb Competition (DARC)
Hosted by Duke University, the Duke Annual Robo-Climb Competition (DARC) challenges students to create wall-climbing robots. The competition is discontinued.

Sakarya University Robotics Competition (SAURO) is a robotics competition hosted by Sakarya University since 2009. The organization is open to undergraduates, graduates and high school students. The competition is discontinued.

First Robot Olympics
The first Robot Olympics took place in Glasgow Scotland on September 27–28, 1990. The event was run by The Turing Institute at the Sports Centre at the University of Strathclyde. It featured 68 robots competing in a range of sporting events from. The robots were from 12 different countries and involved over 2,500 visitors over the two-day period. The competition is discontinued.

Source from Wikipedia