University Student Design and Applied Solutions Competition

FAQ and General Information

**Please check this page often as we will regularly update this document as questions arise.**

Q: We have a question about mapping the structure.  Are there identifiers (numbers, letters, symbols…) for each face inside the box or do we get to name the faces whatever we like?

A: The panels inside the box have been assigned names.  A diagram was sent to each team via email that noted each panel name.  If you have not received it, please contact me and I’ll be happy to resend it to you.

Q: There are two very similar 250 point categories for the demonstration at the final competition, namely "identification and reporting of each instance of corrosion" and "accuracy for locating corrosion and water presence over the entire structure." As far as we can tell the second category awards points based on the number of total corrosion/damage instances detected compared to the number of damages present, while the first category awards points based on precision of detection and description of each damage.  Can you please tell us if we are interpreting this correctly? Is there perhaps any more information you could provide us for clarification?

A: Yes, you have interpreted the scoring system correctly.  One measures how accurate the team was in locating and reporting exactly where the corrosion is present and the other measures how well the team identifies each instance of corrosion and/or coating damage.

Q: Does the system have to be fully autonomous or can it be remote controlled or controlled though a tether?

A: The system can be controlled and maneuvered inside the fixed structure using any means other than human touch.  It is not required to be wireless and can include cables. There are no limitations with regard to the size and length of any cable.  After manually placing the system inside the structure at the beginning of the inspection, all team members will be required to stand behind a line approximately 10’ away from the structure during the remainder of the inspection until the system is retrieved at the conclusion of it.  All team members will have visual access to the outside of the structure. It can be remote controlled and/or use a tether.

Q: Does the competition require a device to move autonomously or are remotely controlled devices allowed?

A: Remote controlled devices are allowed.  Any mode of maneuverability outside of someone physically touching it with his/her hand is allowed to help the device move.

Q: If we have 2 devices, can we use one on each side? The rules explicitly allow multiple devices, but not sure about placement.

A: Yes, multiple devices can be used and placed in separate compartments.

Q: Does the system used in the container have to complete all of the data computations or can a laptop interfaced with the system located outside of the container be used to complete the computations of the data gathered by the system?

A: A laptop or any other system outside the structure can be used in concert with the system inside the structure to help analyze or interpret data, complete computations, etc.

Q: What computations must the system actually be able to complete autonomously? Is it a situation where the device must locate and size the corrosion, but team members can determine the type of corrosion based on the image provided by the system?

A: There are no requirements to what the system inside the structure must do vs. any system outside the structure working with it.  If the team would like to use the system inside the structure to locate the corrosion and then use a system outside the structure to interpret and analyze it, that is acceptable.  It is acceptable for the operator to make the determination of what kind of corrosion is present based on the information it receives from its system.  The system itself is not required to do it.

Q: Can we manually reinsert the vehicle into the second chamber of the competition course without a points penalty? For example, putting vehicle in from both outside holes (square and circle).

A: Yes, your team may insert the vehicle into each chamber one time without penalty.

Q: Are there any more specific dimensions for the box, specifically how high the open in between the two halves of the box is?

A: The diameter of the pentagonal opening is 18”

Q: How high off the ground is the hole between the two compartments?

A: The bottom point of the pentagonal shape is 9” from the base of the structure.

Q: Were any of last year’s vehicles able to navigate their way through the center divider, besides the drones?

A: The teams did not navigate through the central divider.

Q: Since there is no penalty for placing the system into each side of the box, if we are able to move through the center hole without touch, is there a bonus awarded when it comes to judging?

A: The judges have decided not to award a bonus if the system can move through the center without touch.

Q: When inspecting the box, would the report of the corrosion findings by the team be needed in inches or mm to turn in judges? Does it matter which units we pick because we noticed that some of the sections of rules state inches while other sections mention using mm.

A: You are welcome to use whichever unit your team prefers.  The judges’ key will have the measurements in both inches and mm’s.

Q: Rules of the competition on page 6 stated that "Each team will be required to detect the presence of water, provide the exact location of any areas of corrosion it locates."  My question to you is, how exact are we talking about regarding the location of the corrosion?  something like x and y coordinate of each corrosion relative to each steel plate is required of us? or a clear picture showing corrosion spots on the plate is good enough?

A: We will provide each team with a form that the teams will use to report their findings to the judges at the competition.  It will be sent it to the teams by December 31st.

Q: The official rules sheet says a pre-corroded and painted sheet of steel will be sent to us to test with, what are the dimensions of this piece of steel?

A: The dimensions are approximately 18”w x 18”h.

Q: What are the rules regarding rented or used equipment for the final competition vehicle with regard to how it affects the budget rules? For example, we rented a sensor as opposed to buying one.

A: Rental is permissible and the rental fee would be considered as part of your budget – not the value of the equipment used.

Q: What is the color of the PSX 700 being used in the competition?

A: The PSX 700 is yellow inside the box

Q: What is classified as destructive? We were looking into detection techniques such as ultrasonic that one, requires contact with the surface, and two, requires a gel to be placed on the surface to detect corrosion. Would using the gel or using contact techniques that could remove blistered paint or other defects from the surface allowed?

A: Because every team uses the same structure in the final competition, allowing inspection methods that remove the coating would compromise the structure for the other teams.  The device can touch the coating to inspect it however, if a gel is used, it must be removed from the surface when the inspection is complete and it cannot damage the coating while in use.

Q: In the review there appeared to be a format to the way reviewer 1 reviewed everyone's reports.  Is that checklist the rubric that the judges at the completion will be using?

A: No, the judges will not use this format.  In fact, they have not seen these reports from the reviewers.  This was just the format that this particular reviewer chose to use.

Q: What time do you expect the competition to end on April 18th so I know when I can plan our return trip?

A: I would plan for a 5pm wrap on April 18.  I'll have a more formal estimate at the beginning of February after I receive the final team rosters on the 2nd.  In the past two years, we have had a team or two drop out which could affect our ending time.  I'll keep you all apprised as I learn more.

Q: When moving the system from one camber to the other, would the team be able to replace the batteries in the system?

A: Yes, it is permissible for the team to replace the batteries in the system when moving it from one chamber to the other.

Q: We have a question regarding the competition layout. We understand that there is a 10' space around the competition box that we cannot enter once everything is set up. In previous years, the box has been set up on a trailer. We are wondering if the box will be on a trailer again, and if so, how the box will be located on the trailer, and the dimensions of the trailer.

A: This year, the competition box will not be on the flatbed trailer.  It will rest on the floor of the exhibit hall.