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

  • Member #245715 / about 13 years ago / 1

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

    • Kamiquasi / about 13 years ago / 1

      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.

  • rmackay9 / about 14 years ago / 1

    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...

  • 3Dawn / about 14 years ago / 1

    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.

  • N.Poole / about 14 years ago / 1

    ...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...

    • dksmall / about 14 years ago / 1

      I was thinking the same thing, maybe some Mac&Cheese...

      • N.Poole / about 14 years ago / 3

        "And in the #4 position: 'The Intimidator' built by the sickly looking fellow staring unsettlingly at the food vendors."

  • jschroedl / about 14 years ago / 1

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

    • Young Maker / about 14 years ago / 1

      yeah. cause i'm gonna come 1493 miles to play it!!!!

  • Nogginboink / about 14 years ago / 1

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

    • MTMentat / about 14 years ago / 1

      I'll bring bagpipes OR a UAV. 'Not enough time to do both.

      • N.Poole / about 14 years ago / 1

        What if your UAV played pipe-music?
        (must be painted plaid)
        (We look forward to your submission)

  • scharkalvin / about 14 years ago / 1


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

  • scharkalvin / about 14 years ago / 1

    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 :-)

      • schlick / about 14 years ago / 1

        I love the Myth Busters. Adam and Jamie are awesome, but show some geek loyalty... GRANT is the guy!

        • N.Poole / about 14 years ago / 1

          Yeah, Adam and Jamie would certainly provide a competitor crushing (In the literal sense) entry. And it would, no doubt, be an amusing run. But I think Grant could probably show up and smoke the coarse with his arms tied behind his back... of course, it's a Autonomous contest so that's kinda the point... lol

  • arbarnhart / about 14 years ago / 1

    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.

      • bls / about 14 years ago / 1

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

        • midair collision and spectators underneath?

          • bls / about 14 years ago / 1

            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.

          • N.Poole / about 14 years ago / 1

            ("I caught a wing!")

  • spiritplumber / about 14 years ago / 1

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

  • That logo is sharp!

  • TheGreat837 / about 14 years ago / 1

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

  • SomeGuy123 / about 14 years ago / 1

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

    • trevor / about 14 years ago / 1

      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.

    • dksmall / about 14 years ago / 1

      Speed bump??

  • sgrace / about 14 years ago / 1

    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.

    • Hily / about 14 years ago / 3

      Is it a lead zeppelin?

      • Matt24 / about 14 years ago / 3

        I, for one, hope that it's RoHS compliant. A LED Zeppelin on the other hand, would be awesome.

        • scharkalvin / about 14 years ago / 1


          I, for one, hope that it's RoHS compliant. A LED Zeppelin on the other hand, would be awesome.
          Especially if it LIGHTS UP!

          • eewestcoaster / about 14 years ago / 4

            Make a zeppelin complete the course and then immediately burst into flames a'la Hindenburg.
            Simultaneous victory for both AVC and Antimov.

      • sgrace / about 14 years ago / 1

        Only you Hily... Well played. +1

      • sigh. har har har ;-)

  • Member #167681 / about 14 years ago / 1

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

    • TheRobberDotCom / about 14 years ago / 1

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

      • Greeeg / about 14 years ago / 1

        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.

      • madkayaker / about 14 years ago / 1

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

  • Skimask / about 14 years ago / 1

    "(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?

  • Young Maker / about 14 years ago / 1

    sounds awesome. too bad I live 1493 miles away.

    • Utoxin / about 14 years ago / 3

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

      • JoshFranz / about 14 years ago / 1

        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.

      • Young Maker / about 14 years ago / 1

        hmmm. sounds expensive for a 15 year old

      • Haha! I had the same thought...

    • Greeeg / about 14 years ago / 1

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

    • PaulGroenendaal / about 14 years ago / 1

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

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