Trinity Firefighting Competition

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Firefighting Competition maze layout.

The Firefighting Robot competition is a Tabletop Robotics competition held each spring. The main competition is held each year at Trinity College in Connecticut, though there is a local version of the competition held at Penn State Abington.


Competition Overview

The Firefighting Robot Competition is a competition where small robots must navigate autonomously through a maze, locate a burning candle, extinguish it, and return to the starting point (though this last part is optional). The maze contains four "rooms", and the candle may be located in any of these rooms, in any corner, prior to deployment of the robot. The robot is placed at a predefined starting point, and must traverse the maze and try to locate the candle. Once the candle is located, the robot must move in and extinguish it, and then leave the room and return to the starting point of the maze.

Robots are judged based on several criterion. How quickly the robots are able to locate the candle, how many rooms they need to enter before they find the candle, how effectively they extinguish the candle, and whether or not the robot is able to return to the start of the maze are all taken into account.

Bonus points are given if the robot can accomplish extra tasks, such as starting with by a tone, or being able to traverse rough terrain (e.g.: Carpet).

A sample maze solution for the Trinity Firefighting Challenge.

Club Involvement

The Penn State Robotics Club sends 3 to 4 teams to compete in the Penn State Abington and Trinity Competition. The teams that do the best there are then offered the option of traveling to Connecticut for the Trinity contest.

Several past winners include Rambler. See Club Robots for past winners.

Club Approach

The club actively participates in this competition each year, submitting two to four of our best robots. Each robot either has a custom chasis, or derives from our PSRC-I generic chasis. Many different Sensors have to be combined, with the most important sensor being Light Detection.

Algorithms needed, as solving this maze is complicated, are outlined in our Wall Following and Maze Solving articles.

A good example of a successful design would be one of our 2010 submissions, named Twitcher.

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