BuGa 2023: Conclusion

As the tournament at the Bundesgartenshow (BuGa) is now coming to an end and we have secured an excellent second place, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on our journey.

Compared to the RoboCup 2023 in Bordeaux, we were able to significantly improve our performance with the new robots: The radio communication issues have been completely resolved, and our robots executed their driving commands as precisely as they haven’t in years. This clearly demonstrates the advantage of robust industrial solutions like the HBC radio system compared to our previous custom solutions.

The motor board problems have also nearly disappeared as a result. The theory here is as follows: When our robots don’t receive radio signals, they shut down all wheel modules as a safety measure to avoid being a hazard to people and themselves. However, this also results in an abrupt shutdown of all wheel motors, and the remaining current circulating through them, due to the electrical principle of inductance, which dictates that current through electric motors cannot cease instantaneously, can lead to defects in the Motor Controller Boards.

So, when we have radio communication issues, the modules are regularly and unexpectedly shut down. When everything works smoothly, the activation and deactivation maneuvers are carefully controlled at the beginning and end of a game: The motors are brought to a halt by the AI, and then the modules are shut down.

Aside from these two issues, the new robots required very little maintenance—compared to their predecessor generation as well. Only some motor connectors showed problems on the board side: It seems that the through-hole connections of the pads are breaking, causing the power lines on the Power Distribution Board to detach from the motor. We were able to prove this through resistance measurements.

Since we also had problems with our shooting board (same PCB manufacturer)—back then, the solder mask had peeled off from almost all traces at certain spots—we seriously need to consider switching to a different PCB manufacturer.

Nevertheless, it was an excellent tournament that reinvigorated not only our robots but also the spirits of many team members. The enthusiasm is clearly noticeable among all the present members. The positive developments of the other teams since the RoboCup—especially RoboTeam Twente, whose performance improved drastically over the last month—have further fueled our members’ motivation. And so, after the final match, we actively joined the other teams in dismantling the tournament.

We are already looking forward to competing against all the amazing teams at the next European event. It was a pleasure playing against them this weekend. And so, we bid you a heartfelt farewell from the BuGa!