Robotics Competitions and Challenges

  • Daniele NardiEmail author
  • Jonathan Roberts
  • Manuela Veloso
  • Luke Fletcher
Part of the Springer Handbooks book series (SHB)


This chapter explores the use of competitions to accelerate robotics research and promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. We argue that the field of robotics is particularly well suited to innovation through competitions. Two broad categories of robot competition are used to frame the discussion: human-inspired competitions and task-based challenges. Human-inspired robot competitions, of which the majority are sports contests, quickly move through platform development to focus on problem solving and test through game play. Task-based challenges attempt to attract participants by presenting a high aim for a robotic system. The contest can then be tuned, as required, to maintain motivation and ensure that the progress is made. Three case studies of robot competitions are presented, namely robot soccer, the UAV challenge, and the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) grand challenges. The case studies serve to explore from the point of view of organizers and participants, the benefits and limitations of competitions, and what makes a good robot competition.

This chapter ends with some concluding remarks on the natural convergence of human-inspired competitions and task-based challenges in the promotion of STEM education, research, and vocations.


Humanoid Robot Grand Challenge Autonomous Vehicle Defense Advance Research Project Agency Unmanned Aircraft 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.





Civil Aviation Safety Authority


Carnegie Mellon University


Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency


Federation of International Robot-soccer Association


For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology


International Aerial Robotics Competition


International Micro Air Vehicles


middle-size league


nonprofit organization


national qualifying event


qualifier, inspection and demonstration


route network definition file


Singapore Amazing Flying Machine Competition


standard platform


small-size league


science, technology, engineering and mathematics


Universität der Bundeswehr Munich


urban challenge event


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniele Nardi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jonathan Roberts
    • 2
  • Manuela Veloso
    • 3
  • Luke Fletcher
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Computer, Control, and Management EngineeringSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Computer Science DepartmentCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  4. 4.Boeing Research & Technology AustraliaBrisbaneAustralia

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