Visit our Colorado State Extension office for more news, tools and resources.

Close Icon
The Routt County - Colorado State University Extension office brings the resources and research of the university within easy reach. We are here for you.

2021 State 4-H Robotics Competition   arrow

2021 State 4-H Robotics Competition

In today’s world, automation using robots is commonplace and is a key enabling technology of our modern manufacturing and logistics systems. These systems use a variety of product identifiers such as barcode or UPC symbols, 2D barcodes or QR codes, character recognition, and RFID chips. Our warehouse system will use colored dots to identify each different product.

The 2021 Robotics Challenge will be to automate the warehouse of a candy factory that produces three different brands of candy – Kitkat, LaffyTaffy, and Mike&Ike. The warehouse will receive product from the factory in the form of crates identified by color; red for Kitkat, blue for Laffy Taffy, green for Mike&Ike. The engineers also designed the warehouse layout, henceforth called the Mat. The robot will use the Mat to navigate, pick up and deliver the three different candy brands to the correct dock where trucks will be parked for loading.

The warehouse is also expanding, so one area is currently under construction. The robot will have to temporarily navigate around the construction zone and through an automated safety gate to deliver crates to the green loading dock.

The Challenge is to design and program an automated warehouse robot for picking up and delivering the crates to the correct dock where trucks will be parked for loading.

The robot must be programmed to continuously and autonomously pick up and deliver crates to the correct loading dock. Some human intervention will also be required as follows:

  • The crates will be loaded one at a time by hand into the Supply Zone
  • The robot will be manually released after delivering the Quality Control crate
  • The robot will be manually released to pass through the safety gate (in one direction only)
  • If a “truck full” alarm is enabled, the robot will be manually released to proceed
  • Full truckloads of product will be manually emptied into the appropriate warehouse
  • Note that touching the robot or objects on the course is acceptable but will result in a “touch” penalty. See additional details and clarification in General Rules below.


This will be populated with questions received by the Extension Office. The goal is that everyone will have access to the same responses.

General Rules

The robot can be built using the Lego Mindstorms EV3 Core Set including the Intelligent Brick, three Servo Motors, and five sensors, plus one additional sensor. No expansion sets or multiple EV3 kits allowed. The warehouse layout (the Mat) and crate artwork are available for all participants. PDF copies are available on the website. If you would like the superintendent to ship fair-quality copies of the Mat, crates, and crate/truck artwork please email The Routt County Extension Office will provide all supplies, excluding the Mat for free, and provide the Mat at a fee of $85.

  • Each team will have 3 scored runs.
  • Each run will be 5 minutes.
  • The robot may start from the Ready Box or optionally from the Start/Finish Box for extra points.
  • The robot may finish anywhere on the course or in the Start/Finish box for extra points.
  • If an internal timer is used, the robot may leave the Ready Box if 5 minutes has not elapsed, allowing the total time elapsed to be more than 5 minutes.
  • If an internal timer is not used, the run will end at 5 minutes, no matter where the robot is on the course and any undelivered crates will not count for points.
  • If the robot loses its way, crashes, or is not making progress, the competition judge may call the end of a run.
  • There are no penalties for hitting any objects or the walls of the course.
  • Only parts from 1 Lego EV3 kit + one additional Sensor may be used. No expansion sets or multiple EV3 kits allowed.
  • Contestants may use tape, rubber bands, twist-ties, string, zip ties, etc. to restrain connection cables.
  • Robots may also use a Traction Pack (weight) to improve traction if needed. Traction Packs are allowed but not required. The Traction Pack is the only non-Lego part that is allowed.
  • Contestants may download programs by Bluetooth or start them from the brick button.
  • Contestants must use one program for the entire course and the robot must run continuously.  
  • Only the Touch Sensor may be used to release the robot from programmed holds.
  • Touching the robot or objects on the course is acceptable but will result in a “touch” penalty.
  • “Touch” penalties (-5 points) will be incurred if the robot or an object on the course is touched or adjusted to allow the robot to complete a maneuver.
    • Examples of acceptable touch penalties:
      • Adjusting the robot position so that it aligns properly at the Supply Zone, Safety Gate, truck Loading Zone, etc.,
      • Adjusting the robot position to correct its direction at a turn or straight section, and
      • Handling a crate by adjusting its position in the Supply Zone, placement at a truck, replacing a crate that falls off the arm, etc..
    • Examples of unacceptable touch penalties:
      • Picking up the robot and moving it to another location,
      • Touching or moving an object without attempting it first with the robot, and
      • Anything the judge determines is more than a “touch”.