From the activity on this forum, I can see that the world championship tournament in Texas this year is gonna be absolutely great. However, as the date of the competition draws nearer and plans need to be finalized, I have come across a problem… life wouldn’t be fun without them… To put it short, how are you guys planning on transporting your robot to Dallas?
When it comes to cars and road trips, it should not be a problem. But when we start talking about planes and trains, what do you guys think? I’m especially directing this question to all senior teams who have gone through this process before. I have read earlier posts of robots being taken apart by airports security, and I was wondering wheter or not I should go through the hassle of taking an airplane with the risk of getting a dissambeled starter kit instead of a robot.
We have taken robots on the plane several times. I can think of at least 3 or 4 times in which we flew with robots. Our method was to pack each robot in a large plastic crate which on the inside was about 20x20x20. I cannot remember where these came from but they worked extremely well, the inside was coated with a fabric which velcro stuck to. We would place the robot in the crate and velcro it down, then we would place anything else we were putting in the crate in. Afterward we would usually fill the rest of the space with packing peanuts. Then we would buckle it closed. The thing you need to do is make sure that airport security can easily open the crate up and inspect what is inside. Usually they would just send it through the X-ray machine(or not one of crates actually got stuck in the machine once) and/or wave a little wand around inside which detects for gunpowder explosives etc. Other good ideas include place a picture of the whole robot and what it does on top of or just inside the crate. Whatever you use make sure it is sturdy but at the same time easily opened. I would not suggest cardboard boxes. If you build your own crate I would suggest making the inside dimensions 18x18x18 so that it is now your very own sizing box.
There’s more on robot transport in this thread.