The peaceful campus of Caltech will be overrun by tanks today, March 8, when the 33rd Annual Engineering Design Competition brings a fleet of three student-designed robotic tanks to the hallowed institution’s Beckman Mall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Mechanical Engineering students will form six teams and are challenged to design, build and operate a fleet of three robotic tanks that can successfully navigate, control and defend strategic base positions on the grass surface of the Beckman Mall lawn. Teams compete against one another and accrue points based on how long they can maintain control of strategic base positions.

The rate at which points are accrued at a given base is determined by the level of difficulty of reaching the base. The team that maintains the greatest overall control of the field and accumulate the most points in a match wins the match. A round robin double elimination tournament is followed by a single elimination round to determine the overall champion of the 2017-18 ME72 Engineering Design Competition.

Several design challenges are built into the competition, as robot tank dimensions may not exceed a 20-inch long, 18-inch wide rectangle when on the ground, not including the barrel of the gun. During gameplay, the robot may expand outside of this window to any size. Robots must also have some autonomous capability and must operate autonomously during the first 40 seconds of the match.

Robots must be capable of traversing and balancing on the see-saw or climbing the ramp leading up to the elevated platform to reach strategic bases. Some or all robots are to be configured with Nerf rival ball-shooting mechanisms.

The colorfully named competing teams are: Guardians of Spalding, Toast, Team Floyd, Ring of Fire, The Riveters and DA$ ROBOBOBOZ.

Beckman Mall is located at 320 S. Michigan Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 395-6811 or visit