Micro Aero Autonomous Extremes

The course

The challenge! Forums ATC The course


This topic contains 16 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Steve Wright 5 months, 2 weeks ago.

  • Author
  • #82

    John Bradford
    • The course is a long oval; the straights are 25 metres long and 2 metres apart.
    • The track is 2 metres wide.
    • There are put-in and exit lanes to allow the drones to enter and exit the race at any time.
    • There are banners and nets above an altitude of 1.5 meters at regular intervals along the course, to keep things safe, low and close.
    • Course marking: red line, green line, wall-mounted triangles at ends.
  • #87

    John Bradford

    Change Log

  • #113


    I’m posting some thoughts following a little ad-hoc tape testing at the Drone Show this weekend.

    This post is about the tape colour proposed for the course.

    Whilst the red tape works well under oblique lighting, it still suffered from poor saturation at glancing angles, especially in poor lighting conditions.

    To maximise detectability for all, it may be worth considering chroma tape. I believe Rosco tape is widely used in the business for ‘green screening’ because it has a narrow band of reflected wavelengths and copes well in varying lighting conditions. It’s available cost-effectively from here:

    The tape comes only in blue and green (in the UK), which could be used for either side of the track – suggest green on the outside. Red is not widely used because human skin reflects a great deal of red and yellow, so in green screening, much of your weather person would disappear. In our case, image systems sensitive to red could pick up reflections from bystanders, which could have some interesting consequences. General experience is that people wear green the least (hence the thought about the green being on the outside of the track).

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  mikeisted.
    • #124

      Steve Wright

      Yup, that tape looks like a great idea: I was having similar colour-discrimination problems at the weekend.

      I’ll get some of your suggestion and try it out.

      To be continued…

  • #115


    This post is about the tape width on the course.

    Again to maximise detectability for competitors (and make for more successful vehicles!), the width of the tape might be worth thinking about.

    There’s obviously a balance to be struck between processor power, image resolution, frame rates etc. So taking all that into account, might I suggest a minimum of 75mm? Two widths of the Rosco tape previously mentioned would be 4 inches.

    I think that would permit competitors to detect the track reasonably from the upper height limit, so making the whole track volume more usable (with more potential for innovation and fun).

    • #125

      Steve Wright

      75mm width sounds good.

      Combined with the hi-definition tape, it be possible to spot the line from the car park 🙂

  • #119


    So another suggestion which might aid course entry and exit.

    A little beyond the end of each straight, put a target shape which is different on the outbound and homebound direction. This might help returning drones come off at the right end of the track, or might be put to other uses for positioning etc.

    So if there are triangles (as mentioned above), perhaps make one a round or square triangle 😉

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  mikeisted.
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  mikeisted.
    • #126

      Steve Wright

      Yes, I’ve been giving this some thought: definitely on for some vertically-mounted signage.

      I was also wondering, if the blue/green tape is easily discrimated, how about a different colour for the line going into and out-of the pits?

      • #128


        So I imagine that would be an extension of the straight leading onto or off of the main track. Yes, that might help some competitors. It might work well with the earlier suggestion for a ‘come home’ button, which sounds like a good idea.

    • #144

      John Bradford

      At the moment the thinking is that the ‘Pit Lane’ will be on the far side of the ECC by the windows. So you’ll enter through the trade expo / innovation village, then you’ll have some staging for talks / prize giving / then the race way, and then the pit lane.

      That way we can use marshals to restrict pit-lane access to registered crews. Assuming that the pit-lane is the entry point, you’d be racing clockwise which would put the finishing straight on the public gallery side of things (which is ideal).

      The exit slip could either be just after the finish line (which might not be ideal as everyone will be flat out) or 90 degrees towards the pitlanes – which will force people to slow down a bit before they land / crash / exit the main flying arena. It would also give a single entry / exit control access point to the netted flying zone, which could help the safety case.

      Probably need to draw some pictures on squared paper before we finalise.

  • #136


    I’d like to clarify the track shape please. The home page indicates the track has straights of 25m, 2m wide and that the straights are 2m apart. If I understand that correctly, it means the outward and return tracks are adjacent with (hopefully) uavs flying in opposite directions. That sounds like it adds to the risk of collision. It also makes for rather sharp bends.

    If possible, might I suggest placing the tracks further apart? I guess whatever is practicable, but ideally something that gives a radius on the bends of around 2-3m.

    As I recall the room, it has pillars. Why not fly around a few of those for fun?

    Thanks, Mike

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by  mikeisted.
    • #146

      John Bradford

      Yes, there will be some spacing between the two straights.

      Using the pillars is the most logical minimum spacing, it would probably be prudent to go out a bit from them so that anyone taking the corners too tight hits netting and not steel support pillar. Some of that will be down to rigging on the day and what we can do in the ECC.

      edited: I tried doing a quick ascii diagram but WP helpfully strips out extra spaces – will have to sketch something up and post for clarity
      edited: turns out it also strips out > and < around text 🙂

      • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by  John Bradford.
      • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by  John Bradford.
  • #149

    Steve Wright

    My plan for the course is on the B-side of the flyer. I’ve dropped it here (please print and distribute freely 🙂 ):

    This shows 6 metres between the centrelines of each straight, so with a 2 metre wide track, that imples a 4 metre gap between track edges, and a nice steady bend at each end.

    Does this work?

  • #177


    Happy New Year all…

    A couple of quick questions as we near final preparations.
    1. Have the colours of the lines been finalised yet? (And which way round they are)
    2. The course shows coloured chevrons. Again, are these confirmed and if so, what colours will they be?


  • #198



    I just wanted to confirm the exact course markings. A picture would be ideal. The one you’ve put on the poster, that has a dashed centre line!? Will the be a single coloured centre line that goes round the whole course? What colour will it be? Whats the colour of the floor in the room? What are these chevrons? Will they be on the course? Sorry, it’s just that we’re going for quite a simple approach, and we need to know pretty much all these details.

    I’m guessing 1 drone on the track at a time? Otherwise downdraft effects will cause interference if 2 competitors get too close to one another? And Hopefully ultrasonic ranging doesn’t interfere.

    We haven’t entered our team yet, there isn’t a deadline is there?

    Thanks for your help

    • #199

      Steve Wright

      Hi Fotherja

      > We haven’t entered our team yet, there isn’t a deadline is there?
      It’s great to hear of another competitor: no deadline, but could you email me some details (e.g. where you are from, how many people in the team), so that can allocate enough pit-space for you? Note that the venue will be open from 8am on Saturday for competitors, so you can start getting set up early 🙂

      > I just wanted to confirm the exact course markings.
      Yes, the dimensions are as shown on the main website (i.e. 25m along the straights, each straight 6m apart). The line is a solid red line 70mm wide, made using matt-finish tape to minimise unwanted light reflections. I have uploaded some pictures of the tape on the background carpet here:

      > I’m guessing 1 drone on the track at a time?
      Ha ha, no! There is the interesting bit: anyone can fly as often and whenever they like, so there could potentially be several competitors on the track at once. In practice, I can imagine people being tactical at first, and flying when the track is completely clear.

      > Sorry, it’s just that we’re going for quite a simple approach, and we need to know pretty much all these details.
      Yes, I think that everyone is keeping it simple: perhaps things will get more complex at future MAAXXs! We appreciate that this is early day for everybody, so we shall do absolutely everything we can to help the teams get the best from their machines. For example, we have a separate arena that will be used for demonstration events, and we will provide a red line there as a practice and development area.

      Best wishes


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