Exit 5 Robotics’ Mini Grand Challenge: Human Driven RC Car vs Autonomous Robot

Exit 5 Robotics hosted a Human vs. Robot challenge at this past weekend’s NJ Science & Engineering Festival & Robofest at Clifton High School.  The challenge involved an RC (radio controlled) car driven by visitors against an autonomous NXT Mindstorm robot. The RC car was three to four times as fast as the robot in a straight line.  However, the slower and steadier pace of the robot typically caught the RC car at the first or second turn on the 4ft x 8ft oval course. After nearly 200 races, the robot’s win-loss ratio against people of all ages was approximately 3:1.

The girls of Exit 5 modified an existing robot originally designed to compete in the FLL World Invitational Open’s “Run For the Roses” event, essentially a straight line speed race with no sensors required.  For the Robofest event, the robot was outfitted with three sensors to aid in navigation of the course.  The autonomous driving took some interesting twists when the RC car became an obstacle. In some cases, the robot successfully navigated around the car, and in others the robot “shoveled” the car across the finish line.  For the next event, the girls plan to improve their algorithm to reduce lap times and beat more humans!

After each race, the team spent time with the kids to explain the basic operation of the robot and its algorithm for obstacle avoidance.  The main purpose of the Exit 5 exhibition was to get kids excited about robotics and STEM. With over 200 races run over both days, the team feels the exhibit impressed upon the kids and parents that robotics can be fun and exciting.

Pictures of Sunday’s winners posted below along with a few other random pictures.  (Apologies to the Saturday winners as we hadn’t thought that far in advance)




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