Glad to hear that you tried the Big 8. To master this course your robot needs to have encoders on the wheels, and a gyro. No other sensors are needed.
It is very difficult to make it all the way around the track, but it still a good exercise for beginners and advanced students alike. For new students, set the expectation that they are doing great if they can make it past the first or second turn without falling off the course. It could take many months or years to develop the coding skills to autonomously do laps around the track at full speed, but it is possible.
This is a good challenge for advanced students because they will need to use programming techniques like PID to control speed and direction. This is also a good exercise for new students because try as they may, they should come to realize that techniques like timed moves or drivetrain commands will only go so far. The instructor needs to let them try this course and see how far they can get, and then tell them they can try again later after learning some new techniques. Many students seem to think that after they learn the available “out of the box” driving commands they know all there is to know about programming robots. Hopefully, this shows that there is more to learn.
I intend on using this track as part of an “auton 101” lesson and then come back to it again and again, over a long period of time, each time the student learns a new technique.
The orange lines on the course were not intended to be used for line tracking. They just happened to be on the material that I chose for the track.
The posts are there to prevent someone from building a robot with a narrow wheelbase (easier to stay on the track) but with a wide bar that can touch both green balls even if the robot is not in the center of the track. A robot like that would not work because it would get caught on the post.
The modified QuickStart mimic robot in the provided sample above is a good starting point. An advanced programmer should be able to keep it on the track for a long time. A robot with 4" wheels would be faster and score more points.