Robot Maze Grades 6-12

A robot is placed in the far corner of a large, randomly drawn maze with 5cm square segments. Junctions are akin to standard mazes - dead ends, T-intersections, right and left-hand turns, etc. In the dead center of the maze is an open area, 2 unit cells and 2 unit cells long. This central area is positioned so that left-turn-only or right-tun-only robots can never reach it. The goal is to reach the maze's center in the fastest time possible across five attempts (runs).

Robots allowed per Team:      One
Robot Weight and Height Limitations:          None
Robot Maximum Length & Width:    16 cm x 16 cm
Arena Outer Length & Width:           About 152.4 cm x 152.4 cm
Maze Unit Cell Size: 18 cm x 18cm (16.8 cm x 16.8 cm internally)
Robot Control:            Autonomous
Website Available for Purchasing Kits: https://www.picaxestore.com/kit110


  1. The contestant or team of contestants will design and build small self-contained robots to navigate a maze in the shortest possible time.
  2. The winning team will have the lowest average time at the end of five runs.
    • In the event of a tie, a smaller maze will be used to break the tie in a single-round competition between the tied teams.

Rules For The Maze:

  1. The maze is composed of multiples of an 18 cm x 18 cm unit square. The maze walls are about 5 cm high and 1.2 cm thick (assume 5% tolerance for mazes). Thus, the internal navigable area within a square is 16.8cm, not 18cm. The maze comprises up to 16 x 16 unit squares, for a total maze size of up to 2.88m square. The outside wall encloses the entire maze.
  2. The start of the maze is located at one of the four corners. The start square is bounded on three sides by walls. The start line is located between the first and its second squares. That is, as the robot exits the corner square, the time starts. The destination goal is the four cells at the center of the maze. The destination square has only one entrance.

 Rules For The Robot:

  1. Robots shall be self-contained and autonomous (no remote controls). A Robot shall not use an energy source employing a combustion process.
  2. Robots shall not leave any part of their body behind while navigating the maze.
  3. Robots shall not jump over, fly, climb, scratch, cut, burn, mark, damage, or destroy the maze's walls.
  4. Robots shall not be greater in length or width than 16 centimeters. A Robot's dimensions that change its geometry during a run shall not exceed 16 cm x 16 cm.
  5. Any violation of these rules will constitute immediate disqualification from the contest and ineligibility for the associated prizes.


Rules For The Contest:

  1. After the maze is disclosed, the operator shall not feed information on the maze into the Robot; however, toggle switch positions may be changed to change programs within the robot.
  2. The room's illumination, temperature, and humidity shall be those of an ambient environment. (70 to 80 degrees F, 0% to 95% humidity, non-condensing).
    BEWARE: Do not make any assumptions about the amount of sunlight, incandescent light, or fluorescent light that may be present at the contest site.
  3. The run timer will start when the robot's front edge crosses the start line and stops when the robot's front edge crosses the finish line. The start line is at the boundary between the starting unit square and the next unit square clockwise. The finish line is at the entrance to the destination square.
  4. A new run begins every time the robot leaves the start square. The previous run is aborted if the robot has not entered the destination square.
  5. A contestant may not feed information on the maze to the robot. Therefore, changing ROMs or downloading programs is NOT allowed once the maze is revealed. However, contestants are allowed to:
    • Change toggle switch settings (entering data on maze size or content is NOT inclusive of this rule.)
    • Replace batteries between runs
    • Adjust sensors
    • Change speed settings
    • Make repairs
  6. However, a contestant may not alter a robot in a manner that alters its weight (e.g., removing a bulky sensor array or switching to lighter batteries to get better speed after mapping the maze is not allowed).
  7. All robots, whether they have competed in previous contests, compete equally. All robots must be presented to the judges by the original design team, which must meet all other qualifications.