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Eurobot Open in Yverdon-les-Bains

Eurobot Open in Yverdon-les-Bains

At the end of may we were ready. With HAL and Phobos, our two robots we went to Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland to compete in the international Eurobot competition.
The first half of our team arrived on Thursday. We were able to homologate our small robot Phobos. It is required to show that your robot confirms to the rules in order to participate. Phobos was already able to do a lot of tasks. Among other things he was able to “climb” the stairs by lifting himself of the ground and onto the plateau. This lead to a lot of cheers from the audience.

The opponent detection of our big robot, HAL, still had some bugs. Some very dedicated team members spent the whole night finding and fixing them. Thus we were able to get both robots accepted into the competition on Friday morning. In addition to that we optimized collection and filling of the popcorn cups. Also we were able to make our robots cooperate more smoothly. We had to make sure that Phobos and HAL would not try to collect the stands and empty the popcorn cups at the same time.

On Friday we could test our robots on the official playgrounds for the first time. While everything went better than expected we found a couple of things that needed fixing. For example the stands were made of much lighter material than the one we used for testing. Instead of collecting them our robot was more or less “throwing” them around. By adjusting our hard- and software throughout the day we were able to solve the problems that we found.

 

On Saturday we played four out of six games of the qualification rounds.

In the first couple of qualification rounds our robots were able to reliably score a lot of points – if they didn't get stuck halfway. While Phobos was busy collecting the cup in the center of the playing area and scoring some points on the opposite side of the table, HAL was collecting cups and stands on our side of the playground and laying the red carpets. A highlight of every game was when we built the big spotlight: a tower of stands with a tennis ball on top. One could also hear some jaws drop when Phobos lifted himself up the stairs.

 

 The semifinal against BlackJacks. With a score of 112:74 it was our personal record.

 

In one game, our small robot got stuck and we were afraid to loose. Ironically this actually helped us, because it kept Phobos from interfering with HAL. This was at a time, were we still had some problems with our software. With Phobos knocked out, HAL was able to collect all the stands without problems.

We always had some people working on our robots during the night from Friday to Saturday. In order to fix our two robots getting into each others way, we decided to let Phobos drive more frequently to the opponent's side of the table. Thus he could make driving around a little bit more difficult for our opponents' robots. But more importantly it allowed HAL to drive around freely. After we optimized the way we handle popcorn we were ready for the last two games of the qualification rounds.

 

At the end of the qualifications we achieved a decent tenth place out of 36 teams. Thus we were among the 16 teams that were able to go to the final rounds. During the finals, one game followed right after the other. There was no time before a game to fix any problem with the robots and if you loose once you were out. But our two robots were prepared and thus we won game after game.

All matches were really exiting for us, as well as for the audience. With only 30 seconds left HAL went back to our starting area to start building his tower. Only after that, Phobos was able to attempt to lift himself up the stairs. Fortunately he succeeded every time. After that HAL only had a couple of seconds left to place the carpets. Both robots really ran a tight schedule.

 

The second final match against RCVA.
One may note especially the tight time shedule of HAL and Phobos at the end of the game.

 

Finally it was us against the team RCVA from France. The only real top team of the Eurobot competition who has won the competition almost every year. There were two fair and very exciting matches against the fast RCVA robots which we lost. Nonetheless it was a pleasure to watch both teams collect almost all playing elements and to see both of our robots finally cooperate very nicely.

 

All in all we are very proud of our performance this year and already look forward to the next season. We would sincerely like to thank all of our great sponsors without whom we would not have been able to successfully participate in the Eurobot competition. Thank you very much!