First off, we’d like to extend our appreciation to everyone who has taken the time to read the draft rules so far, and particularly to those who have taken the time to submit their feedback and comments on this site and via email. Trust that all your concerns are being considered and reviewed by the judges. We look forward to your continued contributions through the end of the draft rules review cycle (which ends on Friday 17-Jun).
We know you understand that this draft rule set represented weeks and weeks of thought, consideration, discussion, and hard work on the part of the challenge design/judge committee. The group knew they could not go much further without hearing from those likely to participate in the competition which is why we published the draft rules. With your input, we plan to make the final rule set as comprehensive, clear, and fair as possible. However, simply put, we will not be able to make all the changes that have been suggested. We will put significant thought and attention into every decision we make and final rules put in place.
In the mean time, there are some general concerns that we can address below. The wording on any of these statements isn’t final… as necessary they will be placed in the rules in their final form:
- The final rules set will be in a single document. We made it clear why it wasn’t posted in a single document. It was not to make it more difficult for anyone, but to prevent misunderstandings and lost time on anyone’s part later if they are working with an incorrect set of rules.
- We have no intention of running multiple robots on the course unless necessary. However, in order to ensure we are not limiting the number of teams who can even be interested in the event, we need to have a plan for multiple robots. Our goal will be to let teams know in advance of the competition how likely it is that we will have to run multiple robots on the course (weeks/month(s) in advance). It’s a goal, not a guarantee.
- In the case of multiple robots: a rule will be added about robots intentionally interfering with other robots (visually, electronically, or physically)
- In the case of multiple robots: every effort will be made that each robot will run with the same number of robots. For example, if the schedule is such that one run needs to have two robots on the course, all runs will have two robots on the course.
- In the case of multiple robots: there will never be more than 3 robots on the course at the same time.
- Each robot has their own starting platform to return samples. They will be marked in a clear and obvious way known to competitors well in advance of the competition (i.e. in the final set of rules presumably).
- The documentation section currently says that source code/schematics are required in order to help the judges with inspection. It’s almost inevitable, with $1.5M on the line, that judges will be pressed to prove the legality of highly successful robots and we wanted them to have all the tools necessary to do that. However, we understand providing this information is a concern to some. Know that anything you develop for this competition (IP) will always belong to you and we have never had the intention for anything different. We can and will work this out. You should understand that our intention with this rule is fairness and legality of competitors ONLY.
- No samples will be placed in water, nor will a robot be expected to enter water for any reason.
- No samples will be buried.
- Everything you provide that is going to run with your robot is included in the weight. This means your batteries are included, but any competition-provided required payload is not.
- Teams will not have access to their robot to make any modification (including any computer resets) from impound at Level 1 to the end of all Level 1 competition. At that time, all teams will have access to their robots for some minimum period of time. Any teams competing in Level 2 will then be impounded for Level 2.
- Given the shorter time of Level 1, robots will not be expected to rove the entire area in search of the sample.
- After the final rule set is published, teams may ask clarifying questions of the judge committee. It is our goal that everyone shows up to the competition legal to compete, and that no one is surprised by an interpretation of the rule on the day of the event. Teams may publicly ask questions on-line, which may be clarified for all in the FAQ. Additionally, we will work on structuring a system so teams may choose to submit any portion of their 6-month documentation to the judges in advance if they have a concern about the legality of a technology or process that they do not want addressed in a public setting.
Thanks! Keep the feedback coming!