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NatCar Rules

Name of Event: NatCar
Robots per Event: One
Length of Event: 3 minutes maximum
Robot Weight Range: No limit
Robot Dimensions: 14"L by 14"W x 9"H
Arena Specifications: As below
Robot Control: Autonomous
Engineering Principles: Computer Science, Electrical Engineering
Event Summary: An R/C sized car must autonomously follow a complex white line set against a black background. The line frequently crosses over itself. Robots must track the line without loosing it, and the fastest robot wins.


Use an autonomous race car to complete a line track course. Each race car can try three runs from which the shortest time will be recorded as the best record. Players can implement their own algorithm and use curve change marks on the course for route memorization to get the best record in the shortest time possible.

Rules - Part A: The Car

1. The car must be electric powered, have four or fewer wheels (nothing else may touch the ground - i.e., no rollers or slides), rubber tires of less than 4.25" diameter and 2.5" width, and the wheel base must have: length <= 14 inches (axle to axle), width <= 14 inches (from outside of wheel or tire to outside of wheel or tire). In addition, the overall car (including any electronics, sensors and body) must have: height <= 9 inches (except for the flag noted in item 5 below), overall width <= 14 inches, overall length <= 14 inches.  Tires must be rubber or foam type. The tires cannot be modified to improve traction, (e.g., no studs, nails, sandpaper etc.)

2. Robots may use off-the-shelf motor controllers, or be kits such as the Innovati Innoracer.

3. For safety, each vehicle must have a single on/off switch and be able to stop when it is off track.

Rules - Part B: The Racecourse

1. The track is a pre-printed course on a plastic canvas surface board marked by 0.75 inch-wide white line on a black background. Small white mark will be placed at each curve change point on the left side of the track. Only Start and Stop will be on the right side of the track. The actual competition course pattern will be announced before the competition. Please refer to the official website for other competition course related information.

2. The track course is designed with straight lines, cross roads, curves and winding roads of different length and radius of curvature. The total track length is less than 20 feet (50 meters).

3.The course may cross itself, but the crossing will always be perpendicular, although the crossing may occur in the middle of a curve.

4.The course may have sections that are parallel to each other. The minimum clearance of any two track is 4 inch (10cm).

5. Curves - A small white mark of 3.15 x 0.75 inches will be placed before and after each curve. The minimum curve radius is 6 in (15cm). Each curve has a minimum length of 6 in (15 cm) before the change of curve.

Rules - Part C: Running the Race

Each team is responsible for providing their own batteries and chargers. All vehicles must be fully charged prior to the competition. No recharge is allowed between runs. All vehicles will be inspected for conformity to the rules and collected prior to the race.

The competition race course will be revealed after the collection of the vehicles.

Timing will begin when any part of the vehicle crosses the Start point and will end when the vehicle passes the Goal mark. If the vehicle runs off the track and returns back on the track by itself, it can continue the race. The run will be aborted if the vehicle is touched by the player at any time during the race. Each player must finish the three runs in 5 minutes.

Adjustments may be made to the vehicle between runs. Players are not allowed to reprogram or change any electronic parts including battery.

The vehicle is required to stay within the track (follow the white track line) during the entire race. If the vehicle runs off the track completely or remains unmoving for 5 seconds, the run will be terminated immediately. The record of this run will be aborted.

The vehicle with the fastest time from one of the three runs wins. If none of the team can complete the course, the winner will be determined by the car which runs the longest course and in the fastest time.

Rules - Part D: Judging

The car with the lowest total time, including penalties, will win.

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