Search and Rescue Description

Search and Rescue Main Event:

Event Description:

Prior to the day of the event, teams of 2-3 students will create a robot that can navigate a blind maze using a live video feed and then find 3 randomly placed objects, remove them from the maze, and drop them into the safety target zone. Students’ robots must be made from VEX IQ pieces. Students may use rubber bands or tape to modify their claw for more grip.

Common Core Standards and 4C’s:

Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own ideas clearly and persuasively. Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking.

Designing and Programming your Robot:

Design Specifications:

Your robot will need to be able to drive around on a course and attempt to pick up and carry 3D printed figurines from their elevated base (3 5/8” tall) to the outside of the maze where it will drop it onto a flat target zone.

Course Layout:

The course has one entrance which is also the exit. It is modeled after a small dwelling, with a central hallway that leads to two rooms on either side of the hallway (4 rooms total).

Each room will have extra walls/barriers. The “back” rooms are copies of the front rooms. The layout is in the diagram below.

The course itself will take up a space of 8ft by 8ft and will be curtained off. The walls of the maze will be 8” tall, and the paths/aisles will all have a minimum of 1.5’ in width. There will be a gate at the entrance, measuring 8” high. The robot must be able to drive under the gate.

Technical Requirements:

  • Vehicles must be constructed entirely with LEGO Mindstorms or VEX IQ kits. 
  • The Robot’s height cannot be more than 8 in. But, keep in mind the aisles have a width of 18 in.  
  • The robots may be controlled with a remote control.
  • Your robot will need a way to stream live video feed. This can be accomplished with a cell phone, a goPro camera, or another small video recorder. Apps to stream include google hangouts, skype, robocam, and others.
  • Time will start as soon as the robot crosses the gate and time will stop as soon as it drops the 3rd figure, or 10 minutes have passed.
  • Teams will have 10 minutes to complete the course. The score and time combination will be used to calculate the FINAL SCORE (see scoring section). Teams who complete the course within the 10 minute time period may try again for a lower score. 
  • ONLY registered students are allowed to touch the robot and computer that is used. (If a situation such as laptop failure arises, then the coach can inform a contest official and receive approval before entering the team competition area.)


Scores will be a combination of the points awarded from successfully completing the course AND from the time it takes to finish. The majority of the points come from rescuing the blocks and dropping them carefully in the target zones. Time will mostly be used to help split ties, along with points from the Design Document. 

Rescue Points: Students receive 5 points for each block they successfully carry out past the gate. If the block touches the ground at all, no points are scored for carrying the block out of the gate.

Drop points: Students receive up to 15 points based on where on the target they drop the block.  If any part of the block is on a higher scoring color, the higher score counts.  The robot may also push the figure into a better scoring position once it is placed on the target but before the robot leaves the target area. (see locking scores below)

Maximum Points: Each block can earn a maximum of 20 points: +5 for carry, and +15 the center target drop.

Locking Scores: When the entire robot leaves the target zone, the score is to be recorded, and the figure moved to the scoring bins.

Points from Course:

 Objective  Max Points
 1 block  20 pts
 2nd block  20 pts
 3rd block  20 pts

Points from Time:

Up to 10 points will be awarded based on the recorded time as a ratio compared to the best time of all competitors. The time used will be from whichever round you scored the most points from the course.

 Scoring Breakdown
   Max Points Formula
 Points from COURSE  60  See List Above
 Points from TIME 10   10  First Place Time / Team's recorded time x 10 = Team's TOTAL TIME
 Points from Design Document  30  See Next Page

Search and Rescue Design Document:


Students will create a document outlining the process of designing and testing their robot. There will be four main sections: Research, Specifications, Programming, and Testing. The document will be submitted and scored prior to the tournament and will be worth 30 points. Design Documents must be converted to a PDF file before uploading to the TOT App Submission Portal no later than 10:00 pm on March 6, 2020.


In this section, students will use the internet or other sources to search for facts and information about Robotics in Emergency Services. They will need to provide specific examples of emergency response robots (such as DARPA, search and rescue bots, etc.) and cite the sources they used for their research. Finally, they should describe how this research relates to their own project.


In this section students will list the dimensions of their robot (length, width, height). They will also include labeled pictures of their robot.


Students will explain how they controlled their robot to complete the task. They should include a diagram of their controller to show how they mapped their motors/ports as well as a picture of the configuration screen from the brain if they adjusted any of the default settings for the remote control. Students will explain how they set up their video feed: describing both technologies used, and apps/software used.


In the final section, students will describe the testing of their robot and what modifications they made to improve its speed and accuracy. This should include physical changes to the robot such as changing the wheels or redesigning the robot. It should also include changing the setting of the remote-control program. Students should include a data table showing the results of different trials.

Sample Data Table:

We only included times of trials that were completed successfully without dropping any blocks or knocking down any of the starting towers.

Trial Time Adjustments
1 4:57 First successful completion of the course.
2 3:42 Increased the speed of the motors to 90%
3 3:30 Used larger wheels on the robot.
4 3:10 Reset the controls of the program to easier buttons for driving. 
5 2:57 Improved speed by practicing driving with a partner controlling the arm. 


Getting Help:

Visit the Search & Rescue Documents Page to see a sample Design Document and Event support files to help prepare and practice.

Contact Chris Fuge at or Greg West at if you have any further questions regarding this event.

Search and Rescue Reward Points:

Scoring Breakdown Description / Formula Max Points
Online Design Document 30
Live Event Course 60
Live Event Time First Place Time/Your Time Total X 10 10
Design Document Scoring Rubric
Category Exemplary Proficient Partially Proficient Incomplete

There are specific examples provided.

3 or more very relevant examples are provided.

2 relevant examples are provided.

Only 1 relevant example is provided.

There were no examples provided.

Multiple sources have been referenced or cited in the research.

3 or more sources have been referenced or cited in the research.

2 sources have been referenced or cited in the research.

Just 1 source was referenced or cited in the research.

There were no sources referenced or cited in the research.

The dimensions and components of the robot are clearly listed with multiple labeled pictures.

All 3 dimensions (L,W,H) are listed and there are a minimum of 3 labeled pictures.

1-3 items are missing, could be missing a dimension, picture, or both.

4-5 items are missing, could be missing dimensions, pictures or both.

There are no dimensions or pictures.

It is very clear how the programming makes the robot complete the tasks.

It is very clear how the programming works.

It is somewhat clear how the programming works.

It is unclear how the programming works.

There is no explanation of the programming at all.

There was significant testing to improve the speed, maneuverability, and attack of the robot.

5 or more modifications were clearly described in the testing.

3 modifications were clearly described in the testing.

Fewer than 3 modifications were described in the testing.

There were no adjustments or modifications described in the testing.

A clear and detailed data table was included to show results of the testing.

The data table was clear and easy to read with multiple entries and detailed results.

The data table was clear but lacked specific detail.

The data table was confusing and lacked detail.

There was no data table in the design document.
Course Scoring Rubric
Category Max Points

Rescuing large Figure.

Rescuing medium Figure.

Rescuing small Figure.
Time Scoring Rubric

Total completion time.