The Mini-Urban Challenge is a national competition that challenges high school students to design and program a robotic vehicle using a LEGO® Mindstorms® EV3 kit to autonomously navigate through a mini-urban city. Points are earned for navigating the mini-urban city, giving a technical presentation, and an engineering design notebook. The winning team is selected based on the highest total score. An emphasis for the 2016 competition is to encourage teams to use dynamic pathfinding algorithms to guide their vehicles through the mini-urban city. Bonus points can be earned by a team if their robot can demonstrate the ability to dynamically re-route its path to the assigned parking lots when a roadblock is encountered at an intersection.

The Challenge

The robot must enter the mini-urban city from a home base, travel through the city to assigned parking lots, park in any parking space in each assigned parking lot, and then exit the city by returning to the home base and parking in the home base. The robot should use the optimal path (shortest distance) through the mini-urban city to visit the parking lots. While in the city, the robot should obey traffic rules by stopping at stop signs and following standard right-of-way rules when other vehicles are encountered.

Teams will compete twice during the day of the competition, once in a morning session and once in an afternoon session. In each session, teams will be scheduled for 30 minutes at a calibration station, followed by 30 minutes in the mini-urban city competition area.

Two teams compete simultaneously on the city mat, starting in home bases at opposite corners. During this 30-minute period, teams may have practice runs as well as judged runs. Teams are allowed to have up to three officially scored runs during this time. The team’s top scoring run (out of a possible 6 for the day) is counted in the team’s composite score.

Technical Presentation

Oral Presentation
Each team must give an oral technical presentation as part of the competition. The presentations will be a total of 15 minutes: 10 minutes for the formal presentation and 5 minutes for questions from the judges. All team members are encouraged to be present during the presentation, but teams may elect to designate certain team members as their spokespeople.

Engineering Design Notebook
Teams are required to turn in an engineering design notebook one week (7 days) before the competition. This will be forwarded to the judges for review. The notebook must contain an executive summary page and a picture of the team’s robot. During registration on competition day, teams will be permitted to turn in a one-page addendum to their engineering notebook to explain any additional changes/progress made to their design/code during the week prior to the competition.