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smART Car Competition: Robotics and Design Contest

In support of our upcoming exhibition Life is a Highway: Art and American Car Culture, the Toledo Museum of Art and the Toledo Technology Academy are looking for the best designers and technical minds in northwest Ohio to participate in a smART Car Competition, which will be held May 18, 2019 at the Glass Pavilion.

Participating teams will work together to design, program and build a robotic car with an exterior inspired by the Toledo Museum of Art's collection. smART Cars will be judged on both the creativity of the art-inspired design and the vehicle’s performance on an obstacle course during a competition event held at TMA’s Glass Pavilion on May 18, 2019. In addition to Best in Show, trophies will be awarded for outstanding design, performance and programming. 

Between January and May teams will be invited to participate in 4 workshops for help in designing, programming and controlling their vehicles. (Dates listed below)

Register by March 30, 2019. Cost is $99 per team (includes robotic car kit and 4 optional workshops).

Who can participate?

The contest is open to all 6-8th grade students.  Students do not need to be affiliated with a school to register. There is no limit to the number of teams a school may register, but a single student may not register to participate on more than one team. Teams must compete in the event on May 18 to be eligible for an award.

This is a student-centered competition. Students will gain the most if they do the work of designing and building their entry. Mentors are to provide guidance.


Teams are invited to participate in the following workshops to assist them in designing and building their projects:

  • Kick-off Event at the Toledo Museum of Art: Feb. 9, 2019, 1 - 3 p.m.
    • Registered teams will be able to pick up their car kits, ask questions and preview of the obstacle course.
  • Robotics Workshop: March 2, 2019, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. 
    • Instructors will be on hand for tips and tricks on using the Arduino platform to control and program your smART car.
  • Design Workshop: March 16, 2019, 1:30 - 3 p.m.
    • Instructors will be on hand to demonstrate techniques and provide tips and tricks for designing your smART car body.
  • Practice Run: April 13, 2019 
    • Bring your vehicles to TMA to practice on the obstacle course. Instructors will be on hand to assist with troubleshooting technical problems.

Judging and Awards

All judging will occur during the May 18 competition. Winners will be announced and trophies distributed at the end of that event.

Trophies will be awarded for the following:

  • Best of Show:
    • The highest combined design, performance, and programing scores.
  • Outstanding Design: 
  • Outstanding Performance: 
    • The highest score on the obstacle course via remote control driving.
  • Outstanding Programming:
    • The fastest vehicle to complete the obstacle course via autonomous driving.

*Only one award per team, Best in Show winners will not be eligible for Design and Performance awards.

Official Competition Rules


  • Safety is a priority.
  • The contest organizers will disqualify any vehicle which appears to be a safety hazard.
  • Batteries, Chargers, and other components of the Power System may not be tampered with in any way.

Design Constraints:

  • Each team receives an Elegoo SMART V3.0 Robot Car Kit with their competition registration. This kit must be used to build your robotic car.
  • All car construction is to occur after the Kickoff Event has been held. Car kits can be picked up at the Toledo Museum of Art on January 26, 2019 at 10 a.m. or in the Education Office anytime M-F 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. after that date by appointment.
  • The following parts must be used in the vehicle construction:
    • Elegoo SMART DC Motor
    • Elegoo SMART Tires
    • Elegoo SMART Cell box
      • All of these parts can be found in the Elegoo SMART Robot Car Kit V3.O
  • Teams may elect not to use the SMART V3.0 Acrylic Chassis, but must conform to the following dimensions:
    • Wheel base: 6 in from outer edge to outer edge of tires
    • Max vehicle length: 12 in
    • Max vehicle height: 18 in  
  • Additional motors, wheels and power packs may not be used in vehicle construction
  • Motors may not be opened for any reason. For example, it is illegal to change the gearing or to re-wind the armature of any motors.
  • The supplied AA rechargeable batteries are the only allowed source of electrical power for the functional components of your vehicle.
  • The weight of your machine may not exceed 10 lbs
  • Car must drive and compete with the body on it.

Performance Competition: navigating the obstacle course via remote control:

  • Vehicles must be designed to navigate the course in at least one of the following ways:
    • Controlled by an infrared remote via Arduino UNO R3
    • Controlled by a Bluetooth remote and SMART V3.0 Bluetooth module

Programming Competition: navigating the obstacle course via autonomous driving:

  • Vehicles must be designed to navigate the course in at least one of the following ways:
    • Autonomous driving via Arduino UNO R3
    • Autonomous driving via Ultrasonic Sensor
    • Line tracking via SMART V3.0 tracking module

Design Competition: a panel of judges will review and score each entry on form, artistic skill, creativity and connection to the TMA collection.


Additional rules:

  • Referees have ultimate authority during the competition. No protests will be allowed.
  • During the obstacle course competition, the vehicle may only be controlled through normal operation of the Elegoo SMART Robot Car. Touching the vehicle will result in a 20 second penalty per offense.
  • Only team members are allowed to drive the vehicle during the competition. Coaches are not allowed to operate the vehicle or remote during the running of the obstacle course.
  • Vehicles that touch the ground outside the obstacle course boundary will be assessed a 20- second penalty per offense.
  • Damaging any portion of the obstacle course may result in disqualification. Intentionally moving or tipping over static portions of the obstacle course is considered damaging the field, and will result in disqualification.
  • There will be at least 2 referees during each obstacle course run. The Head Referee will act as timekeeper and the other referee(s) will monitor each of the vehicles.
  • Teams will have 5 minutes to complete the obstacle course.
  • Following the round, the referees will review the scored items with the driver; the driver will sign the scorecard indicating agreement.
  • Tournament structure and schedule will be announced on or before April 13.