Droid Racing Challenge 2017 – Rules


Eligible  competitors  are current students at any Australian or New Zealand University/TAFE or equivalent. There is a limit of 6 official members per team. We recommend having at least 4 per team: 2 software programmers; 1 in charge of electrical and 1 for mechanical requirements for each team. There  may  be  no  more  than  9  individuals and three teams representing  a  participating  institution. This competition is designed for undergraduate students, therefore a maximum of 1 postgraduate student is allowed per team. Each university will be required to have at least one staff supervisor contact us by June 9th for a progress update to ensure that the team(s) will meet the requirements and rules of the challenge and be ready by the final.


The total budget of the final product must be no more than AUD$1500. As all components will be at the expense of the teams, a budget limit is imposed to ensure a level playing field.

The Droids

The winning droids. From the left: QUT team 2 (third place), UQ (second place) and UNSW (first place)

Each droid must have an outer shell that covers most (80%) of the droid, is visible from all directions, and can be covered in tape (red). It must also have a flag pole for identification which doubles as a mechanical lap counter. The end of the race will be indicated by a horizontal lap bar 500 mm high which will catch the flag pole as the droids pass beneath. Droids must not be designed to cause damage to other droids, and may not intentionally collide with droids or track elements. However, incidental collisions are likely to occur. Droids must have a method to wirelessly start and stop, and stop automatically within 5 metres of finishing the race. The main aspect of this challenge is computer vision, and we therefore do not require all mechanical components to be custom built – chassis and other components may be “off the shelf” fully assembled.

Droids must also be:

  • Fully autonomous, apart from remote start and emergency stop.
  • Width: Less than 400 mm
  • Length: Less than 800 mm
  • Height: Less than 300 mm
  • Flag pole height: 600 to 700 mm
  • Processing: Any, off board is also OK
  • Software: Any software may be used.
  • Power: Any (avoid large capacitors, see FAQ)
  • Sensing: On-board sensors only, no GPS, no remote control. Vision encouraged.

The Track

  • Paved, slightly bumpy surface
  • Outdoors – plenty of sun, possibly wet
  • Crowd control fencing surrounding the track, ground clearance of 100mm.
  • In case of rain the race will move to an indoors location
  • 1 lap per race, horizontal lap bar 500 mm high. Lap length ~200m.
  • Coloured tape (blue and yellow) indicates the left and right edges of track, droids must stay between the lines
  • Track width (distance between tape edges) will vary between 1 and 2 metres.
  • Obstacles (purple) in all races but qualifiers


  • Obstacles will be approximately 400 by 400 mm, and approximately 500 mm high
  • Obstacle placement may change in each round of the competition, becoming more challenging in later rounds
  • On wide sections of track (i.e. 2 metre wide sections) 2 obstacles may be side by side or on opposite sides of the track
  • On thinner sections of track (i.e. 1 metre wide sections) only 1 obstacle at a time
  • There will always be a clear section of track at least 600 mm wide
  • Points on the track that feature obstacles will be at least 5m apart
  • Track and obstacles will be designed so an Ackermann steering based droid will be able to navigate (i.e. corners won’t be too sharp)


  • The winner is the droid the complete the lap in the shortest time
  • In the case of no clear winner, or neither droid completing the lap, third-party adjudicators will determine the outcome
  • Races may be timed but times will not be used to determine winners