What to Expect

On the Day of the Competition


When you arrive at the competition venue, your faculty member will need to first stop at the registration table to check in your team. All team members will be verified. Any students on your team that were not previously registered for the competition will need to turn in their signed waiver form before they’ll be allowed to participate. To verify that all of your waivers have been turned in, please contact: sally.sage.hills@doolittleinstitute.org.

At check-in, your mentor or faculty representative will receive a folder containing a welcome letter, rule book, and event schedule. Please be sure to read the welcome letter, as it contains important information.

All teams are required to turn in the following at the registration table when they arrive:
a. A copy of the team’s code
b. A copy of the team’s PowerPoint presentation
c. (Optional) A single page addendum to the engineering notebook
These items should be copied onto a flash drive that is clearly labelled with the team’s name. The flash drive will not be returned to the team nor shared with any other teams.

After you’ve checked in, look for the team table with your team’s name on it. This will be your “home base” for the day. 5. The pit area tables will be provided with power connections. Teams are responsible for bringing any other equipment they will need the day of the competition..

Look at the schedule of events and familiarize yourself with your assigned times for the presentation, calibration station, and competition in the mini-urban city. The schedule is tight, and time extensions will not be made for teams that arrive late to any portion of competition. Each team’s schedule is unique: your team may give their presentation prior to competing on the mat, or you may compete on the mat first. Each team will have two opportunities to compete in the mini-urban city, once in a morning session and once in an afternoon session.


Use your time at the calibration station to make sure that your robot is reading the mat colors correctly in the unique lighting conditions of the competition venue and has no problem moving on the mat surface. One of the competition staff will meet you at the calibration station and give you a sheet containing the city assignment, the home base and the three parking lots assigned to your robot. Once your time at the calibration station is up, you will immediately move to the competition course mat.

Mini-Urban City Competition

Two teams compete simultaneously on each city mat, starting in home bases at opposite corners of the mat. 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. A team must inform the judges before beginning an official run that will be scored.  Scored runs begin when you take your hand off the robot in the start block, and end when either the robot runs off the competition mat, a team member touches the robot, or a team member says “Stop”. Once the 30 minute time period within the city has expired, all scoring will stop.

The robot must enter the mini-urban city from the home base, travel through the city to the 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. A penalty will be assessed if the robot does not follow the optimal path. 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.

Bonus points can be earned by a team if the robot can demonstrate the ability to dynamically re-route its path to the assigned parking lots when a roadblock is encountered at an intersection. If a team decides to attempt to earn the bonus points, they must inform the judges before an official run. After the robot begins the run, a judge will place a roadblock at an intersection on the optimal path to a parking lot. When the robot encounters the roadblock, it should calculate a new path based on an alternate route to the parking lot.

Please note that teachers, faculty members, mentors, and parents may not operate the computer containing the team’s programming code during the team’s time on the calibration station or competition mat. Teachers, faculty members, mentors, and parents should not write any of the code used by the teams at any time.

Technical Presentation

When it is time for your presentation, please proceed to the room marked “Presentation Room.” You may either use the computer provided, or you can plug your own computer into the LCD projector in the room. Teachers may not participate in the presentation, but are welcome to join the team in the presentation room as spectators. Likewise, mentors, parents, and guests of the team members are welcome to watch the presentations. Team members from other teams may not be in the presentation room while any team is presenting.


The best score for the navigation portion of the competition run (maximum of  six scored runs) will constitute 70% of the total score.The score for the technical presentation and the engineering notebook will constitute 30% of the total score. These two scores will be combined will be combined to create your overall competition score.

Awards Ceremony

The awards ceremony will begin 15-30 minutes after the last team has finished competing. Awards are given out for First Place, Second Place, Third Place, Best Technical Presentation, Best Engineering Design and Best in Show. First and Second place winners will receive a travel stipend to compete in the National Competition. Be sure to bring your camera to capture your team photo.