So, for those who follow me on Twitter will know I’ve been accepted to PiWars 2022! The theme for this year is agritech, something I have a bit of experience with from my time at my old company.

Here is a list of challenges, there’s three arena challenges plus a freeform obstacle course of our choosing. For the latter, the only rules are you have to start and finish at the same location and you’ve five minutes total.

I’ll be using NE Five for this competition, it’ll basically be the same robot as now but with an added axis in the waist so it can twist, and also I’ll get everything working that I didn’t get to last year… More on that in an upcoming post.

Shepherd’s Pi

For Shepherd’s Pi we have to herd six wayward sheep in to an enclosure, we have to do this three times in five minutes for maximum points. Also, bonus points if you can control the robot using a whistle!

Each sheep has to be 75x75x150mm in size, they have to stay on their feet, and all six need to be in the enclosure. More bonus points are available if the enclosure has a latching gate.

The three red crosses are wolves, these can be moved but also need to stay upright. No killing allowed!

My vague plan for this is to use the hands to best advantage, ideal to pick one up in each hand then hold a third between them. This will result in two round trips to the enclosure followed by a return to the barn while the arena resets. 


Nature’s Bounty

For Nature’s Bounty we have an apple tree, full of apples, that need to be harvested. The arena setup for this is with the same barn as above with the tree in the middle spot. 

Each branch will hold a single apple, with there being four branches at each level. The diagram to the left is the side view, from the top it looks like a cross.

Each apple has to be 40mm sphere in diameter, handily this is the size of a ping pong ball. They can be attached using magnets too, though magnets can’t be used to pick them up. 

For this one I’m hoping to be able to use the arms to best advantage, picking apples with both, then stowing the apples in a basket of some kind before delivering them to the barn. Possibly each load in a different basket?

As before, five minutes max and aiming for three attempts.

Hungry Cattle

Hungry Cattle sees us filling the feed troughs for our herd of cows, three in total. We have to fill each trough at least half way with dried “food” of some kind, then return to the barn. We can either carry enough food on the robot for all runs or refill each time we return.

Five minutes and three attempts, as per the others.

I’m not entirely sure how I’ll do this yet but some kind of scoop to pour the food in to the troughs?

I think the new axis in the torso will help here, the robot will be able to turn left and right for better axis which should help?

Farmyard Tours

This one is the least constrained but due to that is the trickiest as you have too many options!

Basically, you have to show some visitors around your farm and hope nothing goes wrong…

You have five minutes to show off what your robot is capable of, you have to change level by at least the height of your robot, and move across three different types of terrain. It has to be a circuit, finishing roughly where you started.

Stay tuned for more info, from improvements to my robot to how I solve the challenges, no doubt a few daft surprises too…