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ROAV Quadcopter Challenge: 2016-2017

The Field

The field for the ROAV Quadcopter Challenge consists of two canopy tents fastened together to form a 32' long X 16' wide X 12' high-flying envelope. Netting is hung to isolate the quadcopters from participants and spectators, see figure 1.


Figure 1. ROAVcopter Field Design


The Quadcopter

Through this past season, the quadcopter for this competition has gone through three design iterations. Throughout the design changes, major components such as motors and controllers have remained the same. The physical size of the quadcopter; size of propellers; and more recently, the capacity of the battery; have been the primary design changes. The components listed in the table under the menu, Build a Copter, will be the required configuration this seasons ROAV challenges.


Figure 2. Picture of the quadcopter using components specified in the second design iteration: 8" Props


Safety Practices

  1. All team members directly participating at the field will wear safety glasses.
  2. Only one team member will power up and operate the quadcopter; this includes both the receiver and quadcopter. The receiver will be in the possession of this individual when they plug in the battery on the quadcopter.
  3. Power cannot be applied to the propellers until everyone is out of the field and behind netting. Full power cannot be applied to the propellers until the referee begins the countdown (“3, 2, 1, go”).


Race Rules

The 2016-2017 ROAV Quadcopter Challenge will focus on two precision-flying races. The precision flying races will consist of an individual sprint, and a team relay.


Each team will set their quadcopter on a starting tile (2' X 2') at one end of the field, fly around a vertical rope at the other end of the field. After flying around the vertical rope, fly through the lower 5'-square PVC hoop and then back around the vertical rope. After flying around the vertical rope the second time, fly though the upper 5'-square PVC hoop and land on a finishing tile (2' X 2') next to the starting tile (see figure). The race will begin with a countdown (“3, 2, 1, go”) and end when the quadcopter comes to rest on the finish tile. To be considered a good run, the quadcopter must be in contact with the starting tile when the word “go” is announced, and some portion of the quadcopter must be touching the finish tile when at rest. Below is figure 3 to help understand the Individual Sprint.


Figure 3. Elements and Flight Path of the Sprint Precession Race.

Relay Alliance Race

Two quadcopter teams will form an alliance and compete against another alliance of two teams. Alliances will be randomly assigned during qualifying rounds. During championship bracket play, teams will select their alliance partners for the remainder of the event. The highest-ranked teams—based on qualifying rounds—will be given first choice during the alliance selection process. 

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 4 below.


Figure 4. Elements and Flight Path of the Relay Precession Race.

Alliances will set their quadcopters on opposite sides of the field on their 6' square. The baton will start on the inner 2' square. At the start of the race, one quadcopter from each alliance will pick up the baton, see figure 5, and race around the oval.

Fig5Figure 5. Baton for Team Relay

After completing an oval, the baton will be dropped off as close to the 2' square as possible. The quadcopter dropping off the baton will land on the 6' square. After coming to a full rest, the referee will say “go,” allowing the alliance partner to pick up the baton and race around the oval. This will continue until time runs out. Races will last for two minutes. Points will be earned as follows:

  • One (1) point for completing a lap without the baton and coming to rest on the 6’ square.
  • Three (3) points for completing a lap with the baton and dropping it off on your side of the oval (not on 6' square) and with the quadcopter coming to rest on the 6’ square.
  • Six (6) points for completing a lap, dropping off the baton on the 6' square, and with the quadcopter coming to rest on the 6’ square.
  • Ten (10) points for completing a lap, dropping off the baton on the 2' square, and with the quadcopter coming to rest on the 6’ square.

The baton will be considered on your side of the oval, 6’ square, and 2’ square, if any portion of the baton is touching the zone in question. An alliance will be able to continue earning points until time runs out or until one of the alliance’s quadcopters becomes disabled and unable to continue the relay.


Rules to determine right-of-way:

  1. Quadcopters flying on their side of the oval have right-of-way in the lower 6 feet of elevation.
  2. Slower-flying quadcopters must give right-of-way to faster-flying quadcopters by staying in their elevation zone or by maintaining a predictable flight path.
  3. Quadcopters attempting to pick up the baton have right away in the lower 6 feet of elevation with the exception of the opponent’s 6 foot scoring zone.

Quadcopters breaking these rules that result in a crash will be disqualified.

Downloads | The following drawings and CAD files for ROAVcopter competition elements