Autonomous Rule set

Autonomous robot
A robot that lacks direct human control, uses onboard sensors and processing to determine the location of a competing robot, and uses onboard weaponry to attempt to disable/destroy said robot.
A device to enable competing robots to locate, track, and attack another robot competing in an autonomous match.

1. Beacons

The beacon will be of a standard design and will be supplied by SORC or the event sponsor/coordinator. The beacon must meet the following specifications:

1.1 Electrical/IR specifications

  1. 40 kHz or 36 kHz (+/- 1 kHz) IR carrier, continuously running throughout the match.
  2. The carrier frequency must be announced no less than 90 days prior to the start of the competition, or, if the initial contest announcement is less than 90 days before the date of the competition, must be announced in the original contest announcement. Failure to announce the carrier frequency shall mean the default carrier frequency of 40 kHz shall be used.
  3. The wavelength of the IR LEDs shall be between 920 to 960 nm, optimally 940 nm. The exact wavelength of the IR LEDs must be announced in the original contest announcement. Faliure to annouce the IR wavelength shall mean the default wavelength of 940 nm shall be used.
  4. Minimum of 12 working IR LEDs around beacon, each equally spaced about the circumference of the beacon, located from 3 to 6 cm from the base of the beacon. Each LED should have a beamwidth of 30 degrees, minimum.
  5. Beacon must be internally powered, and must work throughout the match. Beacon failure due to power loss shall be cause for beacon replacement and continuation of the match, with the time to replace the beacon not considered against the match time, and allowing the robots the ability to refuel for time spent idling engines, if necessary.
  6. Beacons must have a minimum of four (4) modulations, each of which must be distinguishable from other modulation rates, for identification of multiple beacons. The modulations used must be announced at the time of carrier announcement.
    Modulation frequencies are listed below:
    • 100 Hz
    • 250 Hz
    • 400 Hz
    • 550 Hz
    • 700 Hz
    • 850 Hz
    • 1000 Hz
    • All modulations are +/- 40 Hz.
    Modulation frequencies other than those listed are permitted, as long as such frequencies:
    1. Can be distinguished from other modulation rates
    2. Are published prior to the event, following the same stipulations for carrier frequency.

1.2 Physical Specifications

Beacon must be constructed to the following physical standards.

  1. The beacon shall be a cylindrical shape, with diameter ranging from 8 cm to 12 cm, with a height of 10 cm to 20 cm.
  2. The beacon shall have a mass no greater than 750 g (weight of approx. 1.65 lbs), including battery. This additional mass shall not be counted against the classification of the robot.
  3. The beacon mounting template shall be as follows:
    Four (4) #8 bolts, 32 threads per inch, at the corners a 4 cm by 4 cm square. The bolts will protrude from the robot upward, and should have a 2 cm clearance above the fastening surface.

2. Beacon Mounting

  1. Beacon must be constructed to standard mounting dimensions, and must be mounted vertically on target robot with the IR LEDs at a height no greater than 60 cm (Approx. 23.6") and no less than 15 cm (approx. 5.9") from floor level.
  2. Mounted beacon must be securely fastened to a stationary surface, as compared to the robots wheelbase/chassis. A beacon that falls off, becomes obstructed, or violates the intended purpose of the IR beacon due to improper mounting or location of mounting, shall be grounds for forfeiture.
  3. Destroying the beacon on one's robot violates the intended purpose of beacons and is grounds for forfeiture.
  4. Beacon must be mounted such that there is an unobstructed view of the beacon, as viewed from a distance of thirty (30) centimeters to the length of the arena, and at any elevation from ground level to 60cm above ground level. Moving parts (arms, weapons, etc.) can move in front of the beacon as long as no more than 25% of the beacon IR LEDs are momentarily obstructed from view.
  5. In the event that a competitor stands higher than 60cm from ground level, multiple syncronized beacons may be required to ensure competitors have an unobstructed view of at least one beacon.

3. Jamming

The use of other radiation sources (including, but not limited to IR sources, spotlights, lasers, strobe lights) with intent to distract, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with a robot's reception of a IR beacon shall not be permitted, and be grounds for forfeiture. (See RF jamming rules for non-autonomous contests)

4. Beacon Supply

The beacon used in the competition shall be supplied by the promoter/event coordinator, unless otherwise noted. Competitor's own beacons shall not be used during the offical event to ensure compliance with the stated rules.

In the event that enough beacons are not available for a given match, the event coordinator may, at his/her option, permit the use of competitors' beacons as long as such beacons meet the forestated rules, and comply with the intentions of a neutral beacon.

5. Changes and Additions

Any changes and/or additions made to the IR beacon standard (i.e. additional modulated signal, minimum number of IR LEDs, etc.) must be announced no less than 90 days prior to an event. If no such announcement is made, the above rules will be assumed valid and default.

6. Receivers and Sensors

An autonomous robot shall have at least one (1) receiver capable of receiving an IR signal sent from a beacon, and shall use this receiver to locate the opponent robot. The use of other sensors (including motion detectors, etc.) for as the primary means of competitor location shall not be permitted for safety reasons. A sample circuit for reception and demodulation of the IR beacon can be found at:

The use of other sensors (sonar, ultrasonic, touch, motion, etc.) shall be permitted only as a secondary means of computing the competing robot's location.

7. Safety

Each autonomous robot shall have a weapon/mobility system shut-off of one of the following methods:
All other safety concerns published in the General Rules must be followed, except when it contradicts the above rules.

8. Rulings

All rulings made by the judges shall be final.

Last modification: February 07, 1999
by John Patrick (