DRC Rules

The following rules are no longer fully relevant with the changes to the 2020 DRC.

Changes From 2019

  • The competition will be a “Do as much as you can within a time-limit” style this year
  • Do not need to stop the droid at the end
  • The competition is run in a simulator this year

Droid Racing Challenge 2020 Rules

Team Eligibility

  • All team members must be currently enrolled students at a tertiary education facility (university, TAFE, or equivalent).
  • There is a maximum of six official team members.
  • Each university or institution has a maximum of three teams allowed to compete
  • This challenge is designed for undergraduate students, therefore there is a maximum of one postgraduate student allowed per team.
  • Teams must be able to show their progress through a video diary/showcase/logbook before the competition to ensure they are ready to compete.
  • Teams must have at least one staff contact.

Robot Specifications

  • The total budget for the finished robot must not exceed $1500AUD. This is to ensure an even playing field. All components will be at each team’s own expense
  • The droid must use computer vision to sense the boundaries, obstacles and other droids
  • The droid must be able to wirelessly start, stop and finish the race.
  • Any software may be used.
  • Only on-board sensors may be used. Main guidance must be computer vision based, however on-board sensors may be used to detect obstacles (i.e. No GPS, RC, LIDAR).
  • Each robot must have a red outer shell that covers at least 80 percent of the robot.
  • Droids must not be designed to intentionally interfere with other droids.
  • It is recommended to avoid having open wheel designs. Two robots failing this might get their wheels tangled up. Though judges should still be able to see when a wheel has contacted a track marker.
  • The simulated design must be physically reasonable. Parts cannot be “floating”, they must look like they can be connected (connections themselves don’t need to be modeled). Weights must be reasonable.
  • Maximum dimensions:

Width:         400mm

Height:     350mm

Length:     800mm

  • Each robot will be judged on the day to see if it meets specifications. If it does not it will NOT be allowed to compete.

The Track

  • Yellow and blue coloured tape will indicate the left and right edges of the track respectively 
  • Time penalties will apply if the robot crosses the track edges
  • Sections will be indicated by a solid black line
  • The width of the track will range between one and two metres
  • There will be obstacles on the track that the droid will need to avoid. They will vary in size (max 400x400x500mm), with up to two obstacles at any part of the track
  • The obstacle configuration will increase in difficulty with each round
  • Be prepared for different obstacles from last year and surprise challenges


  • Each droid will compete in 2/3 solo heats
  • The score is determined by how many completed sections a robot can complete within a time-limit, minus any penalties. If a robot completes a lap, then they are free to continue moving (without stopping) to accumulate a higher score.
  • When the heat is due to start, a judge will give a countdown for the heat to start. After which, both teams may hit the start button for their droid to start moving.
  • If a judge determines that a droid has entered an unrecoverable state (such as completely lost the track), they can move it back onto the track in the last section the droid was attempting.
  • After all heats, the total score will be used to determine which droids move onto the single-elimination knockout tournament.
  • The rest of the competition will have 2 robots on a track at the same time, starting next to each other. Scores at the end determine which droid advances to the next round. If the score is close, the judge may re-run the match with starting positions swapped so that any starting-position bias is accounted for. In this case, total score from both runs determines the winner.
  • Results will be shown via video. The preliminary heats will not be shown in their entirety, but a compilation video MAY be made if interesting enough. All matches in the knockout tournament will be recorded and uploaded.


As the format is considerably different from last year, penalty severity is difficult to determine. As such, these may change closer to submission date.

  • Partially outside track: Section failed. Determined if any part of the droid is past the track lines. On the line is fine, but off (even just 1mm) is outside.
  • Fully outside track: 1.5 failed sections. If the entire cart is outside the track. On the line (even just 1mm) counts as in.
  • Never inside track (cutting a section): 2 failed sections. The previous penalty occurs for the entirety of the section.
  • Collision (If droid is the cause of it): failed section. Colliding with another droid or a box.
  • Catastrophic collision: 2 failed sections. A droid is unable to continue unless the judge moves the robot or a box. In collisions that render both droids unable to continue, preference will be given to the droid not responsible. That droid will be recovered first, and then the other droid will be recovered.

If multiple penalties occur in the same section, only the most significant penalty will occur. Judges discretion to ignore a penalty if they believe it was caused by a collision by the other droid.

The Environment

  • The competition will be held in a ROS/Gazebo environment in a virtual machine by MathWorks, available here.
  • Teams can either build their system entirely in ROS, or use the ROS toolbox available in MatLab.
  • All ROS nodes and topics must be in a unique namespace for each team. Desired format is uni_teamname.
  • A topic called /officiating/start will be used to tell the robots when the race starts. It will be of type std_msgs/String. Robots must not start before this topic is used.
  • A basic model is provided for teams to use if they wish. It is available here. Teams are free to edit it as much as they want
  • A basic MatLab setup can be found here.


  • Prizes will be awarded to the droids that finish first, second and third in the tournament stage.
  • A prize will be awarded to the best designed droid, which will be judged by an expert panel
  •  MATLAB will award a prize to the best performed droids that implement MATLAB (prize rules)