Gondwana is a small planet orbiting a star on the outer fringes of our Galaxy. More than a thousand years ago the Gondwanans mined precious metals and stored residue laced with toxins including arsenic and mercury in twenty spherical pressure vessels. These vessels have been successfully stored in a fenced compound near the shore of an ocean. A meteor shower is predicted to strike in 30 days and a destructive tidal wave would be generated if one landed in the nearby ocean. The release of the toxic waste into the environment would be catastrophic. Fortunately, teams of engineering students from Earth are about to visit Gondwana as part of their work experience programmes. Over the last 31 years, visiting engineering students have rendered invaluable assistance with such engineering problems, and on this thirty-second occasion, the Gondwanans again seek help from these budding engineers to solve the problem.
The Gondwanans only want to disturb the aging vessels if a disaster is imminent so want a system to transfer the vessels to a temporary inland compound only in the event of an approaching tidal wave.
Scientists predict that the time for a destructive tidal wave to reach the compound from the time of a meteor impact would be short but the twenty vessels must be transferred within this brief window.
Twenty waste storage (payload) vessels are located in a rectangular compound and all of these vessels must be transferred to an inland compound with higher protection walls as fast as possible. A garage providing protection near the location can be used as a staging area from which to deploy a system that will collect, transport and deposit the vessels into the inland compound. As the Gondwanans are cautious beings they will remain well inland and remote from the operation until after the shower so the challenge is to design and build a system to autonomously collect, transfer and place all twenty vessels as swiftly as possible.
The objective is to design, build and demonstrate a prototype transfer system in a laboratory environment. Points will be scored when your autonomous system collects, holds and transfers vessels within the maximum allotted time, which for the competition is 60 seconds.