ABU Robocon extended the concept from NHK Robocon which started in 1991 and restricted to teams from Japan only.
Each year the competition has different topics, but generally speaking two or more robots must be used to complete the tasks. One of the robots would be manual control while the others are automatic. The best robots usually weight more than 10 kg and span in one square meter area. To build the robots, contestants, who are restricted to be undergraduate students, must possess rich knowledge in programming, mechanical design and electronic circuit design.
Each game is between two teams, often named red and blue. The playing field is symmetrical and robots from both teams start at the same condition (except for Robocon 2015 which employed a turn-based game based on badminton).
A typical game (except for Robocon 2015) lasts for three minutes, but can end sooner if one team achieve a K.O victory which immediately finishes the game. In case that no teams achieve the K.O condition, the team get higher score after three minutes will be declared winner.
Earlier editions of Robocon tend to emphasize the competitiveness of the game, in which winners achieve their win by employing strategic approaches to deploy their robots as well as preventing their opponent from reaching the goal. For example, this strategy was notable in Vietnam’s win in Robocon 2004 and 2006, and China’s win in Robocon 2008. To mitigate the problems, later editions reduce the combat nature and put more emphasis on technology, designing and making robot perform complicated maneuvers, which require teams to be more creative on designing robots.
ABU Robocon 2018
The competition is going to be held in Ninh Binh, Vietnam. The theme comes from a traditional game in ethnic region of Vietnam, namely ném còn (throwing shuttlecock). The goal of the game is to throw the shuttlecocks through the ring at height. In Vietnamese culture, the game is about celebration and making friendship.
In the game, each team are given a few shuttlecocks and needs to design two robots, one manual and one automatic robot. The manual robot needs to hand the shuttlecocks to the automatic robot, which attempts to throw the shuttlecocks through the rings (unlike the traditional game, there are three rings at various heights in this game). The winner can be achieved by points, or by immediate KO if the robots successfully throw the shuttlecocks through three rings, and for the highest ring, the shuttlecock lands on a golden disk on the opposite side.