Minimal maze

mazeTop - Copy

Time limit

5 minutes

Control method


Aim of the challenge

The minimal maze is a simple course made of wood. Walls are 64mm high and are painted different colours as shown in the diagram below. Sensors or a camera will be required for this challenge! The maximum sized robot allowed is to scale on the following images – click to embiggen! The full plan of the course, including measurements and coloured walls is available as a PDF here.

MazeStart MazeSide mazeTop MazeEnd

The aim of the challenge is for your robot to drive autonomously around the course without touching any walls, thus incurring penalties.

The course will be driven twice and the times added together to make a final time.

Ranking and points

Competitors will be ranked according to the total amount of time taken to drive the course, the robot with the shortest time will take first place. Only those robots that have completed two runs will be eligible for ranking.

Points will be awarded to the top ranked robots like so:

  • 1st: 40 points
  • 2nd: 32 points
  • 3rd : 25 points
  • 4th : 18 points
  • 5th : 15 points
  • 6th : 12 points
  • 7th : 10 points
  • 8th : 8 points
  • 9th : 6 points
  • 10th : 4 points
  • 11th : 2 points
  • 12th : 1 point

Additional points

  • 5 points will be awarded for each completed run.
  • 10 points will be awarded for each ‘clean’ run. (i.e. no walls touched).
  • 10 points will be awarded to robots that use sensors/cameras only to navigate the course. i.e. This bonus will only apply to robots that are not pre-programmed with distances and angles etc.
  • The robot with the fastest single run will be awarded 10 additional points.


  • It is permitted to rescue the robot and place it back on the course at the place where things went wrong once per run without penalty but the clock will not be stopped.
  • An additional rescue is permitted, incurring a 30 second penalty.
  • A third rescue is not permitted, instead the run must be abandoned.
  • Abandoned or non-completed runs will be penalised by 2 minutes.
  • Each time the robot touches a wall, a 10 second penalty will be incurred.

19 thoughts on “Minimal maze

  1. If we have an A4 robot, what sort of gap would there be to the walls on either side?
    (asking as it could affect the sort of sensors used)

      1. An A4 robot is going to be around 36cm across diagonal corners, so a wall spacing of 35 cm will prevent, or make it very difficult to turn around or turn corners within the maze without touching walls (i’m really thinking of dead-ends and one way corners, more open junctions like t-junctions or crossroads should be fine). Maybe this is intentional, but if not, it might be an idea to have a slightly larger distance between walls.

        Also, can you please specify the wall height so that we can think about placing our sensors.


          1. 62mm means sensors will have to be located pretty low on the chassis to maintain any sort of accuracy. Wont this severely restrict the design of the robots? For example, robots with tracks or multiple wheels that run the full length of the machine likely wont be able to mount sensors on the sides.

          2. Hi Matt.
            Tim’s going to be reviewing the rules on this one and we’ll see if 62mm is high enough. At the very least, it will be a level playing field. The courses aren’t built yet so it’s not too late to change things.

  2. This course layout seems a bit simple although I do understand the range of entrants likely to be competing. My co-designer/programmer/technical advisor was already working on ideas for more complex potential layouts and has been doing some teenage muttering!
    However, side wall height does not restrict robot design, but merely adds a challenge! There is always the option of the attachment to mount things.

  3. Was any further info available / decision made re the ‘gap between walls’ – previously given as approx 35cm. (I take it this is the gap between the vertical walls that the bot is sitting between in the above image)

    I can understand not wanting to give all the dimensions away but confirmation of this would be really helpful.



  4. Will there be a barrier at the end of the course like in the straight line speed test? Or can we have an emergency stop button on the remote?

    1. Hi Stephanie. No barrier at the end, so it’ll just run off. You’ll need to set it going then pick it up at the end. However, an emergency stop button isn’t a bad idea as otherwise you’ll need to build is some physical button on the ‘bot itself. So, I reckon that’s fine.

  5. In all autonomous challenges would it be allowed for robots to submit ‘telemetry’ data back to the computers? I know it doesn’t really add anything to the its ability to finish the course, but at least it looks good plus allows some analysis of how well it is doing. Also, do runs need to be sequential for each robot or you’ll have everyone have a go before repeating?

  6. Will the robot start inside the maze or have to drive in? In other words, when the ‘go’ button is pressed, will there be maze walls on either side of the bot?

  7. wrt to sensors: distance and angles – are we right in thinking that the statement “This bonus will only apply to robots that are not pre-programmed with distances and angles etc.” is referring to pre-programmed route matching the published maze? i.e. move forward x distance, turn y degrees, move forward… etc… Turtle style.

    Only we want our robot to be able to know when to turn a certain amount before moving on – we’re currently planning to use distance sensors to detect the walls and then either encoders or compass to detect how much to turn. We will, in this case, be defining values in our program such as min_distance (eg. 5 cm) and max_rotation (eg 90). Is this ok within the rules and would “sensors bonus” still be valid?

    1. Hi Tom. Yes, the ‘using sensors’ bonus would still be valid. You’re using sensors after all 🙂

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