AVC 2011!!!

The flood gates are open for AVC 2011.

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My fellow mole people: greetings to you all. So the world has chugged down another Free Day, for better or worse. And as we begin our recovery (hey, it was a ton of work to coordinate that thing), we set our sites on the next big event on the SFE calendar. And what's that? You guessed it, dudes! It's AVC 2011!!!

The thrill of victory - or at least a nice solid job by Elmo.

For the uninitiated, let me explain. “AVC” is short for “Autonomous Vehicle Competition”, and this is our third time hosting this event. People come to SparkFun Command Central here in sunny Boulder, Colorado to try their luck at navigating around our building with an autonomous vehicle of their own design. You can do it by land, or you can do it by air. (I'd avoid the sea bit; the pond doesn't go all the way around the building, and I think something pretty foul resides in there). This year's event will be held on Saturday, April 23. Doors open at 8:30, races start at 9:30 sharp and we will go to around 5 when we present awards.

If you're a veteran of previous AVC's, check the rules carefully as there have been a few adjustments for this year. Last year we had a lot of people actually complete the course. And while on one hand we'll say kudos to you guys for making it, on the other we're saying that this is getting too easy, so we're going to throw in a monkey wrench or two. We're also going to open up the ground vehicle category to, dare I say, an unlimited number of entrants... OK, that one's got me a little concerned. If we get a hundred ground entrants this could get interesting, but for now we're going to say "the more, the merrier".


We just love doing this event, and we're totally stoked for this year. It's all the robotics you can cram into a 1/10th scale RC car chassis. Or, for the more adventurous, your own chassis design... or even toss something in the air! Add to that some good times with good company, good music from the house band, food vendors... I don't know, there might be minstrels, and maybe a guy walking around on stilts. OK, probably not those last two, but you really can't go wrong coming to this event. Come get your geek on!

Comments 72 comments

  • can you use a rc helicopter or a quad copter for the uav part of the Competition

    • A quadrotor was used in the 2011 competition. You'll have to keep an eye out for the 2012 rules to see if you can enter a quad or heli for 2012, though.

  • In case there's flying machines with whizzing propellers are you going to hand out umbrellas or bats to ward them off with?

  • Can't wait! AVC bot is already in progress... but oh so far from being complete...

  • Can I use a 1/18th scale RC car?

  • I'll be there! The addition of obstacles and a hoop is awesome! Obstacle avoidance is where it's at. The airborne guys don't have to sense and react to the environment.

  • ...If I eat nothing but Ramen Noodles for the next two months...
    ...I may be able to afford building an entry AND getting to Colorado and back...

  • You guys rock!
    Literally. There's a drum set on the loading dock!

  • I'm only going to enter if there will be minstrels there.

  • RobertC.:

    I think I detect a pun. Well done Pete.
    Guess you should DUCK the pond? (Though a submarine would be kinda cool!)

  • I'd love to see the Mythbusters show up with a FULL SCALE entry, in the extra heavy category. (Can you say MAC Truck?).

    • I would pay to see Mythbusters show up. Granted, not much since I don't have a TV show, but still, I would love it if those guys showed up. Adam, Jamie, you are formally invited :-)

  • I have an idea - if you have 100 entrants have 50 go each way. The last half of the race could be really interesting...
    Hoping to find my FreeDay package (thank you very much!) at home today. Got a few of the mystery sensors and a Nordic fob. I am hoping for ArduIMUs with tiny scratches; that's what you sent us all, right? ;^>

    • You can't do multiple planes at once, therefore if we did 50 aircraft, and there's a 5 minute limit to each, it would take over 4 hours, assuming there's not any break between them.

      • Why can't you do multiple planes at once? Wouldn't be much different then multiple ground vehicles.

        • midair collision and spectators underneath?

          • Midair collisions? Similar problem ground vehicles will have to face and be programmed to avoid in order to win with other vehicles present. As for spectators underneath - light weight falling parts aren't nearly as dangerous as a powered flying aircraft.
            It's always a good idea to make spectators aware of the dangers present whenever model aircraft are flown, but with multiple autonomous aircraft competing at the same time they should perhaps also be advised to TAKE COVER. (lol)
            By the way, I'm certainly not suggesting to have multiple aircraft compete at the same time - just saying that it would be possible and that dealing with the Midair problem would be similar to the extra problem multiple ground vehicles will also have to deal with.

          • souvenirs!
            ("I caught a wing!")

  • Last year I turned in my application to Stanford via autonomous vehicle and was still rejected :(

  • That logo is sharp!

  • Hi, so my freeday order came in today, when the mailman gave it to me, the tape was ripped..... help

  • Where did you get the race starting line thing? And what is it?

    • That was designed and constructed by Tyler from our Production Department. It's fabulous-the raised platform lets us run power underneath, and it provides an easy to see starting/finishing line.

    • Speed bump??

  • I hope my UAV zeppelin will be done by then and working... If not, oh well, I'll just come for the fun and maybe if anyone needs help debugging their system.

  • Would it be possible to just send the AutoV via fedex and let someone put it on the track for you?

    • I'm pretty sure that it has to get there by itself ! (ie. no help from FedEx :P

      • I don't think your vehicle has to get to Sparkfun HQ from where you built it by itself. I'm sure most people would put it in a car and drive it there.

      • What if it autonomously Fedexed itself to SFE headquarters, where it somehow got itself out of the box and into the competition?

  • "(I'd avoid the sea bit; the pond doesn't go all the way around the building, and I think something pretty foul resides in there)."
    See what he did there?

  • sounds awesome. too bad I live 1493 miles away.

    • Just program your autonomous vehicle to find it's way to HQ and enter itself in the competition. Problem solved.

      • Wow, although you're probably joking, that'd be quite the challenge... maybe a solar-powered (or solar-recharging) vehicle that would use GPS to find its way to the competition...
        What type of vehicle? Here's a few ideas:
        *wheeled vehicle (avoid authorities? :))
        *amphibious vehicle (if you live overseas)
        *hot air balloon
        *jet-powered aircraft (for style points)
        Here's something else to consider... how would it fill out the paperwork? Inkjet printer cartridge?
        Sorry for taking up so much space, formatting was being annoying.

      • hmmm. sounds expensive for a 15 year old

      • Haha! I had the same thought...

    • hehe to bad I live OVER 9000!!! miles away.

    • Too bad I live 4721 miles away.. I should make an amphibian!

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