Team Resources

CSTAG encourages new and prospective rover teams to rover competitions to reach out to the community of established teams for advice in getting started. If you have specific questions, you are welcome to contact us for advice on the details of our competition and what it takes to succeed.

CIRC organizers take no responsibility for arranging team transportation, deliveries, food, tools, or accommodations. For registered international teams, we will provide confirmation of competition registration to each team member requiring a visa to visit Canada.

Informational Resources

Supporter-Provided Resources

To be announced for 2024. Teams are often granted special access to materials and software through supporters of the event.

Advice from the Organizers

Over the last several years, we have noticed a lot of teams struggling for the same few reasons. We have compiled a list of some things to keep in mind to ensure a smoother competition experience. Hopefully you find these suggestions useful!

First of all, test, test, test! One of the biggest mistakes made by those in the competition (and often engineers in the field) is allowing insufficient time for testing and revision. You will not achieve perfection with the first iteration of your rover, no matter how long you spend designing it. We encourage you to try making proof-of-concept parts using cheap methods that can provide quick feedback on your design. Proper testing also ensures everything works together correctly in a realistic setting. For example, the first time you are attempting to operate your drill via a camera feed over a wireless connection should not be at Location 1 of Surface Sampling!

Limit the scope of your redesign efforts. Be realistic about your team’s availability and prioritize your work. It is better to reuse a part with known and manageable flaws than replace it with something unproven which will fail in new and exciting ways. If your team has the resources for a complete redesign each year, make sure you track the progress of each task and have a plan B if something doesn’t get finished.

A consequence of insufficient testing is inexperienced rover operators. An operator with more than an hour or two of realistic practice with the rover (via camera and sensor feedback, without physically watching the rover) is very rare, and is the easiest way to gain a competitive edge.

CIRC Rover Design Guide

Refer to the CIRC Rover Design Guide for more information and tips on building your rover.

Intervention Examples

The CIRC event rules often allow provisions for Major Interventions and Minor Interventions to resolve small issues a team may encounter during the course of the task. The spirit of this rule is to encourage teams to experience and complete the entire task, and prevent the need to “give up” when something unexpected happens. At the same time, properly awarding teams which can execute the entire task effectively.

As participants may understand these rules in different ways, the examples below are intended to help teams recgonize when they may want to perform an intervention and what the associated intervention type is expected to be.

This section is up-to-date as of December 2023. Please see the current event-specific intervention rules and requirements for the associated penalties with each intervention type.

# Description Type of Intervention
1.0 A team sets their rover up at the start line, does not move, and then asks if they can debug something on the rover, like checking a connection or restarting the rover. No Intervention
2.0 A team member in the field asks to take an intervention so the field team can talk to the operators about the task. Not allowed (penalty)
3.0 A team wants to manually adjust the direction of the antenna (base station or rover) Remote control of the antenna is okay. Each repositioning is counted individually. Major
3.1 The team wants to make a minor repair such as adding a zip tie, add or affix tape, tightening screws, reattaching a loose wire or connector, etc. Minor
3.2 Replacing a component like an arm, or a battery. Major
3.4 Replacing a blown fuse inside or on the rover. Minor
3.3 The team removes a subassembly of the rover to work on it before re-installing. Major
4.0 Connecting a laptop or other equipment directly into the rover to change, update, or reset software or settings. Major
4.1 Remotely debugging software issues or remotely changing software configuration. No Intervention
5.0 The rover is driving off the task area and the emergency stop button is pushed by a judge/at judges direction. The judge radios to the base station when ready to continue. No Intervention
5.1 The rover is driving in risky terrain and the emergency stop button is pushed by a team member in the field to prevent damage. No further action is taken. The judge radios to the base station when ready to continue. No Intervention
5.2 The team wants to return the rover to the starting line. Minor
5.3 In the case of rain, the team wants to carry the rover to shelter to wait out the rain, returning to the task start line afterward. Minor
5.4 The team wants to recover the rover to a nearby recent location as determined by the judges after becoming immobile or stuck. Major
5.5 The team wishes to reorient or change the heading of the rover. Major
5.6 The team wants to place the rover somewhere it has not been before. Not allowed
6.0 A team member touches the rover while it is operating without asking for an intervention. The judge has interpreted this interruption to be accidental or inconsequential. Minor
6.1 A team member touches the rover while it is operating without asking for an intervention. The judge has interpreted this interruption to be intentional. Major
6.2 A team member collects a sample in order to carry out their experiment if the rover is unable to collect it. Major. All parts of the report are considered to be after the intervention for the purpose of calculating the penalty.
7.0 Team members in the field ask for an update about what the rover operator is doing. No Intervention
7.1 Team members operating the rover asking for updates from the field. Not allowed

Competition Safety Information

Inclement Weather

Typical summer weather events such as rain showers or thunderstorms may occur during the competition weekend. More severe events such as hailstorms or tornado watches are rare but possible. CIRC organizers may adjust the event schedule as required to minimize the hazard presented to participants and rovers. Please note that rovers may be expected to operate in light rain.


We encourage you follow the guidelines below for a safe and enjoyable competition experience. Each attendee is responsible for their own personal safety, and for understanding all risks that may be encountered, some of which are listed below:

  • Drumheller is sunny, hot, and dry, with summer temperatures exceeding 33°C.
    • Wear sunscreen (SPF 50+), a hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses while outdoors.
    • Carry a large water bottle and drink plenty of water. Drinking water is available at CIRC central and all task sites.
    • During the hottest parts of the day, limit time outdoors to prevent heatstroke. CIRC Central is an air conditioned facility where you can rest and work on your rover in comfort.
  • Task sites are undeveloped, and contain steep slopes and loose surfaces.
    • Walk carefully to avoid tripping or sliding on uneven ground.
    • Wear long clothing and enclosed footwear. Cactus and thorny plants are common.
    • Avoid steep slopes to prevent injury and reduce environmental impact.
    • The clay-based soil in Drumheller becomes exceptionally slippery when wet.
    • Do not approach wildlife. Venomous snakes are occasionally sighted in the area.
  • Working on rovers can be hazardous.
    • Exercise caution with all tools and wear appropriate safety equipment.
    • Ensure bystanders keep a safe distance from active rovers and work areas.
    • Work which presents a significant risk to bystanders or the facility should take place outdoors and well away from members of the public.

Emergency Information

  • In the event of an emergency, dial 9-1-1
  • The nearest medical facility is Drumheller Health Centre at 351 9 St NW.
  • The Drumheller Health Centre emergency room is always open.


  • Shoppers Drug Mart (41 Railway Ave W)
  • Riverside Value Drug Mart (167 Centre St)
  • Medicine Shoppe (101 6 Ave SE)
CIRC 2017 team briefing CIRC 2017 team briefing
Team briefing at the start of CIRC 2017