file here - European Rover Challenge


file here - European Rover Challenge
Frequently Asked Questions
In accordance with the entry no 7.2. of the ERC 2015 Competition Rules: ‘The Organizer will
provide 'European Rover Challenge 2015 Questions & Answers' as a part of the Competition
Rules. All arrangements contained therein are ultimately binding - even if they change the
Competition Rules. FAQ will be reasonably announced in advance and provided on the Challenge
website.’, we present following FAQ below. This document is prepared in cooperation with ERC
2015 Judges.
[1. Q]
Point 1.10. says: ‘Distance between team tent and Challenge Location will be up to 1 km’
– while 3.4 says ‘Each Task will require the rover to travel a certain distance, but never
more than 0.5 kilometers from the starting point. The starting point will be no farther than
20 meters from the control station tent.”, thus:
– what is the maximum communication range Team should expect?
– ‘Team tent’ is understood here as ‘control station tent’ from where robot is controlled
during the competition task, or is it understood as ‘tent for preparation’ when team does
not take part in competition task at this moment?
[1. A]
“Distance between team tent and Challenge Location” is the distance between area where
rovers will be conducting their tasks and tents where teams will be working on their rovers. This
distance will be up to 1km to prevent communication interferences during tasks. The
communication range from the Control Tent (from where team will be controlling their rover)
necessary to perform the task will be up to 500m.
[2. Q]
What is the characteristics of the terrain? Is it a dense soil or something closer to loose
[2. A]
You shall be prepared for both kinds of the soil.
[1. Q]
The rules in the section on the transmit power (3.7.) says:
‘Up to 50W EIRP (amateur radio bands)
0144.000-0146.000 MHz
0430.000-0440.000 MHz
1240.000-1300.000 MHz
2300.000-2400.000 MHz
5650.000-5850.000 MHz’
From what I know those are amateur radio frequencies that you need to have a license
for. At the same time I read further in the rules (3.7.) that ‘Any other frequencies are
possible if you have Licences for this license and they will be accepted by the RF
communication judge.’ which indicates that having a license does not apply to the above
stated ranges. The question is:
- whether the team will be able to transmit with such power without a radio amateur
license (under the sign of a club f.e.)?
[1. A]
ERC 2015 will be conducted under the care of the amateur radio club. Thus, rover operators
will be able to operate such transmit powers on the amateur frequencies under the care of a
member of the club during the event, even if they do not have such a license.
The presence of a member of the club is sufficient to use frequencies listed in the ERC 2015
rules (3.7.) – in this case, juror responsible for the task – Mr. Marcin Stolarski is a memeber of
the club mentioned above.
[2. Q]
Is VAT (Value Added Tax) included in the total rover budget (15000€)?
[2. A]
No. The Maximum total budget 15000€ is a nett value.
[3. Q]
Are Teams allowed to use GSM module in their rovers?
[3. A]
Yes. It is allowed.
[4. Q]
Regarding point 3.3. ‘A separate limit of 20 kilograms applies to all spare energy
sources and rover equipment that is not mounted during a particular Task
(combined).’, thus:
- does it mean that if a rover in a particular configuration weighs 30 kg with 30 kg spare
parts would be considered overweight?
[4. A]
Yes. If the equipment or spare parts are going to be used during particular task, the limit for it is
[5. Q]
Are there any limits on the antennas used to communicate with the rover?
[5. A]
The antennas should be deployed on the teams equipment (mast etc.) and the team must be
able to deploy it before each task and take it off after task. No other limits are planned to be
[6. Q]
Is it allowed to have a strainer as a part of sample container? Or even outside the robot?
If so, can it be treated as separate container also?
[6. A]
A strainer can be a part of sample container, but such strainer MUST be then taken back – we
are not littering Mars. Note that the container should isolate the sample from the external
environment as much as possible (contamination of the sample, mixing the samples, the impact
of cosmic rays during transport to the lab, on Earth, etc.) – thus, container should not be a
[7. Q]
We are designing a custom drill which will be hollow from inside so it can store the soil
inside the drill. Can this design be used in rover challenge?
[7. A]
Designing it that way will result in storing only one sample. As long as the sample will be stored
‘clean’, points will be awarded. However, we won’t include other samples.
[8. Q]
We are curious about using the LTE or GPRS. Since we have access to the GPS satellites
and the plot is about helping astronauts with maintance on Mars with a slowly
developing infrastructure, can we assume that there exists an cellphone-like network on
the site? Is it possible to use one of the mentioned internet access points? It would allow
us to greatly increase the autonomy of the Rover increasing the range to the range of the
LTE network. We don’t plan to dynamically download any data to the Rover, we just plan
to control it via the internet and stream the data recorded by it i.e. to our website. It is
actually more like it is done now with actual rovers… Also, it would be a fun challenge!
[8. A]
GSM network is allowed to be used as a link between rover and control station but organizer
takes no responsibility on problems with public network like overload or lack of coverage etc.
[1. Q]
Is it allowed to drop the deep soil sample into the container together with the drill it was
gathered with?
[1. A]
Yes it is allowed although the soil that last on the parts (drill and other equipment) will be
removed with the parts before weighting and will be not counted to the sample weight. Manual
intervention to remove the soil from the parts before they will be took off from container is not
[1. Q]
In point 4.2.2 is written, that any raw data can not be sent to the team tent (“It means that
all raw data shall be processed onboard without sending them to the rover control tent”).
Following that, I have few questions:
- what is the definition of raw data?
- does any data can be sent to the team tent (which one)?
- if not, how rover can traverse non-autonomously?
- how shall I understand following sentence: “From that point rover shall rely solely on a
navigation system that provides numerical coordinates or shows the rover’s position on
a virtual map.”?
[1. A]
! This note is changing following rules (4.2.2.) sentence: “It means that all raw data shall be
processed on-board without sending them to the rover control tent. Only rover’s coordinates
shall be broadcasted in order to allow the Judges to see the rover position (raw coordinates or
moving point in the map) throughout the Task.” to: “It means that preferably all raw data shall be
processed on-board but in non-autonomous mode raw data can be send and processed on
operator’s computer. At least rover’s coordinates shall be broadcasted in order to allow the
Judges to see the rover position (raw coordinates or moving point in the map) throughout the
– raw data – data before processing. Original or preprocessed data from sensors. In described
fusion process: all data sources before fusion process e.g. GPS data, odometry data, compass
– all data could be send to control tent for visualisation and logging purposes but if team wants
to earn additional points for data fusion ( 4.2.7. Bonus #2) then one output including coordinates
and orientation values should be used for navigation purposes and team must present Judges
used algorithm principles, its inputs and outputs and how it is affecting operator control
accuracy. It is preferable that data processing will be conducted on-board the rover and
operator’s computer will be used only to visualise data and sending commands to the rover.
– rover could be controlled by operator using raw data or fused one. Additionally in autonomous
mode only start and stop (at the and of task) signals can be send to the robot and all the control
algorithms must be executed on on-board computer.
– operator of the rover can control it by following raw data or fused data. Additionally and
desirably, in both cases: using raw or fused data, final localisation of the rover can be present
on the operator’s computer screen on the map. Map could be prepared by team or loaded from
file which will be delivered by organizer and which will be stored in typical GIS file where map
image and it reference to global coordinate system will be included. Information about which
specific extention will be used, will be added to FAQ soon.
While performing this task, is it allowed to send any type of data from rover to control
tent (inlcuding distance sensor, lidar sensor, etc.) in non-autonomous mode, except data
from rover cameras?
[2. A]
Any data can be sent to the operator’s computer e.g. for logging/reporting purposes, but no
other data than localization (coordinates, distances to nearest obstacles, compass readings) in
numerical values or projected on top-view map can be used by operator (displayed on the
screen) during “blind traversal” task.
[3. Q]
Range cameras (a device which produces a 2D array showing the distance to points from
camera in a scene to every point in this scene) are included in sentence ‘rover cameras’
in this task?
[3. A]
See 2.Q. No visual data sources (visual camera image, IR camera image, depth camera image,
point clouds etc.) or their processed variations can be displayed during “blind traversal” task.
[2-3. A] Each not mentioned source of information and representation of any data that can be
misunderstood by Judges shall be discussed before the challenge. Final decision about whether
used data representation is in accordance with ERC rules and fair-play is on the Judges side.
All processing methods, data sources, its representation and design of the operator’s display
and information which is planned to be used during each task shall be included into technical
documentation. This will be verified during the “blind traversal”
[1. Q]
For the Maintenance Task is current measurement required? Point 4.3.1 says ‘Teams
must (…) measure the current and voltage on the reactor panel terminals.”, while the
scoring method doesn’t list any points for current.
[1. A]
No. Only voltage measurement need to be performed.
[2. Q]
For the Maintenance Task could you please clarify whether the voltage terminals are
male or female? Point 4.3.2 says “The terminals (…) will be two pins” and I understand
pin as a male connector but the pointing scheme awards 10 points for “Plug into the
socket” and I don’t see any other task listed which could require plugging anything.
[2. A]
The terminal will be standard 230V socket – female type. The rover must be equipped with male
[3. Q]
In what way are buttons in Maintenance Task placed? Next to each other, horizontally or
[3. A]
You shall be prepared for any arrangement of buttons and other elements.
[1. Q]
While preparing design draft report, is necessary to include a whole title page, or we
must only include a header with the information established in the rules? If it’s necessary
to include the page, the table of contents, drawings and potential attachments in account
of the 6 pages limit?
[1. A]
Limit 6 pages includes a cover page, table of contents and the contents of the document. This
limit does not include attachments. The annexes shall be used as additional materials and make
issues raised in the document more precise (eg. engineering drawings, diagrams, analysis).
[2. Q]
We would like to put in pictures and renders of our design. Are these permitted outside
of the technical/dimensioned drawings, and can these be inline or placed in an
[2. A]
A main document shall contain sufficient information to present a rover and all devices,
including an envelope description (main dimensions). Appendixes shall contain more specific
information which could not be placed in the main document and shall refer to the main
document, for example: technical drawings.
[3. Q.]
Is financial information and details about fabrication abilities required in the report as
part of the description of the team?
[3. A.]
Yes, rover design draft report should include financial information and details about fabrication
[4. Q]
Unfortunately we are right in the middle of the final exam period, so the report will likely
be submitted no earlier than April 30th. Is there a UTC time deadline, or just the calendar
[4. A]
Please remember, the new deadline for rover design drafts is May 17th.
[5. Q]
Do we have to provide detailed information about the used radio frequencies?
[5. A]
Yes, rover’s design draft report shall include information about the frequencies. On the other
hand, up to August 25th definitive frequencies shall be send to ERC 2015 organizers
([email protected]) who will verify and approve it. Detailed information can be found in
Competition Rules (5.4.)