The Canyons of Mars

The actual design of “The Canyons of Mars”

Aim of the Challenge

  • To drive the course as quickly as possible three times.

Control Method

  • Autonomous

Time Limit

  • 7 minutes


  • The course will require you to autonomously navigate a simple maze. The maze design can be seen above and you can download a zipped SVG of the course here.
  • The total size of the course is 3.4m by 1.83m.
  • The walls will be 20cm high and painted red.
  • At certain points, green alien targets will be placed on the walls. You can use these, for example with a camera, to find your way round the maze. You do not need to touch them. We will publish the placement of the aliens very soon.
  • The distance between walls is just under 600mm at the start and the minimum distance between walls at the turns is approximately 550mm.
  • The floor will be painted grey and will be as flat as we can make it.
  • The course design is as pictured at the top of this page.
  • It is permissible to touch the walls in this challenge without penalty.

Ranking and Points

  • Competitors will be ranked according to the total time taken to drive the course three times.  The robot with the shortest time will take first place. Robots that do not complete three runs will not be ranked but will be entitled to additional points as detailed below.
  • 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 (to be confirmed)

  • 10 additional points for each completed run.
  • 10 additional points for each run completed without touching the walls.
  • 5 points for each zone entered. (Zones to be defined)


  • Use of ultrasonic distance sensors and time-of-flight sensors will enable you to detect the walls.
  • Use of a camera will enable you to spot the targets.

Ask Questions and Discuss

You can discuss this challenge and ask questions on the discussion forum or via Discord chat.