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ROAVcopter Challenge - NIFA

1. The Quadcopter

1.1. The Quadcopter that is being utilized for this competition is the Parrot Bebop 2. No First Person View (FPV) will be used during this years challenge.

1.2. Drones can be ordered with an educational discount through the following website:

1.3. Additional propellers and battery charger may be purchased though Parrot or Amazon.

1.4. Other third party batteries may have slightly more capacity and are permitted in competitions provided the battery fits in the standard battery holder on the Bebop drone.

1.5. Only Parrot or other injection molded plastic propellers may be used. All other propellers, (e.g., carbon fiber) are strictly forbidden. 

2. Data Acquisition Package

2.1. The data acquisition package used in this competition is called the ROAVcopter Sensor Kit sold by Because Learning.

2.2.The sensor kit consists of the Ardusat Space board and Moteino boards for wireless transmission.

2.3. This system can be acquired through

2.4. Access to the Ardusat experiment ehub is required to upload code and to view live data.

2.5. Curriculum regarding the data acquisition package can be found here under unit 4. Though the curriculum showcases the Parrot Mambo, the data acquisition lessons are still applicable. 

3. The Field

3.1. The field for the ROAV Quadcopter Challenge consists of two canopy tents fastened together to form a 32' long X 16' wide X 11'-4" to 12' high-flying envelope.

3.2 Netting is hung to isolate the quadcopters from participants and spectators, see figure 1.

ROAVcopter field

Figure 1. ROAVcopter Field Design 

4. Safety Practices 

4.1. All team members and event personnel directly participating at the field will wear designated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). During the Manual Flight Skill Challenge, safety glasses are required.

4.2. Only one team member will power up and operate the quadcopter — this includes the hand held controller, connected smartphone/tablet, and quadcopter. All controlling devices will be in the possession of this individual when they turn on the quadcopter.

4.3. Power cannot be applied to the propellers until all non-essential personnel are out of the field and behind netting, and the referee begins the countdown (“3, 2, 1, go”)

4.4. Power cannot be applied to the propellers unless quadcopter is in a netted area. 

Safety Practice Penalties 

Violating rule 3.1 will result in the disqualification of that team. A second offense will result in that team being disqualified for half of a season. A third offense will result that team being disqualified for an entire year. 

Violation of other safety practices 3.2 - 3.5 will result in a formal warning followed by levels of disqualification as outlined above. 

Skill Challenge Rules

Introduction: The 2018-2019 NIFA ROAVcopter Challenge will focus on three different precision challenges: Manual Control, Relay Race, and Data Acquisition. Each skill challenge is required to be completed by a different pilot. 

Manual flight leverages the Bebop’s capability to maneuver around an obstacle course. Students will fly their Bebop drone through various obstacles as quickly as possible.

The Relay Race challenges students to design a mechanism to secure a baton, and their flying skills by moving the baton around the field. Students are to move batons as outlined in the Relay Race Section as many times as possible in one minute fifteen seconds.

Data Acquisition leverages the payload capacity of the Bebop to carry a sensor package which sends specific information back to a computer. Students are required to design a mounting system for the ROAVcopter Sensor Kit. Teams are then to pilot their drone through obstacles and to designated field elements and report pertinent data. Teams will have one minute to report back data for as many field elements as possible.


5. Manual Flight 

5.1. Field Configuration: For this challenge, teams will navigate the obstacle course detailed below in figure 2.

5.2. Each team will set their quadcopter on the starting/finishing tile (2' X 2') at one end of the field. After the start of the match, teams will fly around the vertical rope at the other end of the field. After flying around the vertical rope, teams will fly through the upper vertical portion of the  PVC chair hoop in the North to South direction and then back around the vertical rope. After flying around the vertical rope the second time, teams must then fly though the lower portion of the  PVC chair hoop in the East to West direction, then land on the starting/finishing tile (2' X 2') (see figure 2).

5.3. The race will begin with a countdown (“3, 2, 1, go”) and end when the quadcopter comes to rest on the finish tile.

5.4. To be considered a good run, the quadcopter must be in contact with the starting/finishing tile when the word “go” is announced. In other words, quadcopters cannot take off till a referee announces ‘go.’

5.5. Challenge clock will stop when the quadcopter comes to rest with some portion touching the start/finish tile.

5.6. Teams will have 1 - 3 attempts to achieve their best score based on the discretion of the competition manager.

5.7. Scoring: Winning team will be based on the team that completes the course in the least amount of time. Teams will be ranked on their flight times, lowest flight time wins. Flight time is based on a single flight. 


com field

Figure 2. Elements and Flight Path for Elementary Skill Challenges.

6. Relay Race

6.1. The Baton

6.1.1. Baton is made up of 1/4” dowels and 3D printed connectors. For a visual representation, see figure 3.

6.1.2. Detailed drawing and STL file for 3D printing is available to download here, Baton drawing and STL files download.

6.2.3. If interested, contact Utah State University for information regarding purchasing 3D printed parts. 

 Figure 3. Baton     

6.2. Field configuration
 A net with an 8' opening at each end will be hung down the center of the field, forming an oval race course; see figure 3 below.

6.3. Teams will only have one minute fifteen seconds to move the batons as many times as possible.

6.4. Teams will set their quadcopter on the side of the field with only one baton.

6.5. During the relay race batons will be flown in a counter clockwise rotation. 

6.6 At the start of the race, the quadcopter will take off, fly half a lap around the race oval, pick up a baton, and place the baton at the quadcopter's starting location. The quadcopter will then pick up the baton that the quadcopter initially started out next to. This baton is then dropped off at the opposing side of the oval, where the first baton was removed. The remaining baton is then picked up, and moved to the opposing side of the field. This process is continued until one minute has elapsed.

6.7. Batons need to be placed on the opposite side of the oval from which it was picked in order to be counted for points.

6.8. For a visual representation of the race flight plan, see figure 5.

6.9. Scoring for the Relay Race Challenge: For each successful translocation of a baton, a team will be awarded points. For every baton moved and successfully placed on an open 2' X 2' tile, 3 points will be awarded. For every baton moved and successfully placed on the 6' X 6' tile, 2 points are awarded. For every baton moved and successfully placed on the the required side of the course, one point is awarded. The team with the highest number of points is considered the winner of this challenge. Teams will be ranked ordered for tournament scoring. 

Relay Configuration
 Figure 4. Relay Field Configuration 


Relay Flight Path
 Figure 5. Relay Field Flight Path

 7. Data Acquisition

7.1. For this challenge, students are required to gather data, and solve obstacle challenges utilizing the autonomous operation of the quadcopter and the ROAVcopter Sensor Kit. 

7.2. Various field elements including a light emitting bucket and a hot plate will be present on the field.

7.3. Obstacle elements will have to be navigated, while data acquisition elements require remote sensing.

7.4. Each field element will have an associated point value that a team can earn.

7.5. Using the ROAVcopter Sensor Kit, Students will have to identify which color of light, red, blue, or green, is currently being produced by the light emitting bucket.

7.6. Using the ROAVcopter Sensor Kit, teams will have to identify if the hot plate is at ambient temperature (off) or above ambient (on) using sensor data.

7.7. The specific locations and associated point values regarding field elements for this challenge will be released to the teams just prior to the beginning of the challenge. 

7.8. Navigating through field elements and the gathering of remote data can be done individually with multiple flights, collectively with a single flight, or any combination in between. 

7.9. If using a single flight, the quadcopter must successfully return to the start side of the taped line to be considered successful. If the flight is not successful, no points will be awarded. 

7.10. Teams will fly in the reverse order of their ranking based on the manual flight challenge and relay race. Highest ranked team will fly last, lowest ranked team will fly first. Ties in the overall rank order prior to this challenge. will be broken based on random chance (e.g. coin toss, drawing of a short straw).

7.12 Teams will have 1 - 3 attempts to achieve their best score based on the discretion of the competition manager. Note: teams are not required to use all attempts if they do not want to. 

8. Calculating Tournament Champion

8.1. At the end of each skill challenge teams will be ranked based on performance.

8.2. The team that performed the best during a skill challenge will receive a rank of 1. The second best performing team will receive a rank of 2. This process will continue through the field of teams.

8.3. Each teams ranking for each of the challenges will be added up for their overall score. 

8.4. Calculating Ties

8.4.1. If two teams tie, they will share those two places. The following ranked team will receive the next available position. For example, if two teams are tied for third place, they will hold the 3th and 4th position. The next highest ranked team will receive the 5th place position.

8.4.2. Tied teams, as in the example above where teams tied for the 3rd and 4th position, will have the lower place (higher number: e.g., 4) added into their final score.

8.4.3. If two or more teams tie after calculating overall tournament score, the highest ranked team in the data acquisition challenge will receive the higher ranking. Next, the relay race challenge will be used to break the next level tie. All other teams that are tied will remain tied.