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Unread 06-02-2010, 08:11 AM
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Next Game Autonomous Mode

While watching a NOVA special about a completely autonomous robot race it got me on the line of thinking that robots in the future will be developed with the goal of minimizing the amount of human input by giving the robot the ability to make dynamic decisions in real time. From what I can gather many if not all FRC robots are, in over simplified terms, the merely most awesome RC cars on the planet and do not incorporate this idea.

Dose anyone think that next years FRC game should/will incorporate a larger focus on programing and building the robots to be more independent? Maybe a longer autonomous mode, or maybe a bonus for the robot completing the endgame without human input?
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Unread 06-02-2010, 10:37 AM
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Re: Next Game Autonomous Mode

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxMax161 View Post
Dose anyone think that next years FRC game should/will incorporate a larger focus on programing and building the robots to be more independent?
Should they? Absolutely. Will they? Probably not; the usual argument given is that the GDC likes to make sure that all the games are at least playable to some degree by rookie teams who may not have a lot of experience. May this would be possible if the default code included a useful default autonomous routine, the same way the default code includes basic driving code by default. They have actually done similar things in the past, such as including auto-targeting code for the years that have included vision targets, but the level of adoption by teams is still fairly low, as you point out. A lot of the challenge here is finding a way to provide code that will work on all designs of robots.

You allude to this, but an interesting way to put more importance on autonomous function is to make the end game autonomous. Seattle Robotics Society is hosting a "FIRST-like" game that includes this feature. I'm very interested to see what kinds of entries are generated.

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Unread 06-02-2010, 09:06 PM
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Re: Next Game Autonomous Mode

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxMax161 View Post
From what I can gather many if not all FRC robots are, in over simplified terms, the merely most awesome RC cars on the planet and do not incorporate this idea.

Dose anyone think that next years FRC game should/will incorporate a larger focus on programing and building the robots to be more independent? Maybe a longer autonomous mode, or maybe a bonus for the robot completing the endgame without human input?
I don't think FIRST needs to provide a bonus, but rather I encourage programmers to each get a test chassis from their teams, and create robots that can auto aim, lead aim, and perform obstacle detection.

The teams that have auto aiming tend to do the best in many competitions. 469 has been praised for their loop hole robot, but I think one of the most impressive aspects, was the robots ability to actually play the game. Almost entirely due to one of the fastest auto aims I've seen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA0FSXlvf_Q

I know my team, 319, had our auto aim to thank for the success in 2006.

And trust me, drivers being proud and confident in their abilities, will always claim to not need the auto aim. At the end of the day, if your robot can auto aim they will use it.

Autonomous used to be a much more exciting time period, and based on FIRST's choices for autonomous post-2006 I don't think we can count on a exciting one. If you look at 2003, 2004, and 2006 they were all very impressive autonomous years with huge advantages for robots with a good autonomous. Interesting too, they were exciting not only because of points, but the spectator aspect. Spectators love to see robots score, they get bored fast with low scoring matches. So who knows, maybe we're overdue for a strong autonomous incentive again.

I sure hope so...
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Unread 06-03-2010, 10:16 PM
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Re: Next Game Autonomous Mode

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=84797

I am doing it, no matter the game, I am doing full autonomous mode. Im just hoping the game next year won't be super complex...
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Unread 06-04-2010, 12:10 AM
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Re: Next Game Autonomous Mode

Quote:
Originally Posted by lineskier View Post
I don't think FIRST needs to provide a bonus, but rather I encourage programmers to each get a test chassis from their teams, and create robots that can auto aim, lead aim, and perform obstacle detection.

The teams that have auto aiming tend to do the best in many competitions. 469 has been praised for their loop hole robot, but I think one of the most impressive aspects, was the robots ability to actually play the game. Almost entirely due to one of the fastest auto aims I've seen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA0FSXlvf_Q

I know my team, 319, had our auto aim to thank for the success in 2006.

And trust me, drivers being proud and confident in their abilities, will always claim to not need the auto aim. At the end of the day, if your robot can auto aim they will use it.

Autonomous used to be a much more exciting time period, and based on FIRST's choices for autonomous post-2006 I don't think we can count on a exciting one. If you look at 2003, 2004, and 2006 they were all very impressive autonomous years with huge advantages for robots with a good autonomous. Interesting too, they were exciting not only because of points, but the spectator aspect. Spectators love to see robots score, they get bored fast with low scoring matches. So who knows, maybe we're overdue for a strong autonomous incentive again.

I sure hope so...
I was not aware that 469 was using auto aim during the non-autonomous portion of the game. Are you sure that they were?

Also, you forgot to mention 2008. That year the good teams usually owned the game by the end of autonomous (see Simbotics that year).
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Unread 06-04-2010, 05:59 AM
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Re: Next Game Autonomous Mode

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Line View Post
I was not aware that 469 was using auto aim during the non-autonomous portion of the game. Are you sure that they were?
I asked their coach, Dan, that very question toward the end of the Troy event. His response was that they were not using the camera to target. The aiming skill during teleop is practice, not programming.
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Unread 06-04-2010, 07:24 AM
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Re: Next Game Autonomous Mode

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Line View Post
I was not aware that 469 was using auto aim during the non-autonomous portion of the game. Are you sure that they were?

Also, you forgot to mention 2008. That year the good teams usually owned the game by the end of autonomous (see Simbotics that year).
As a side note, there were quite a few robots that used auto-aim in 2006. I'm pretty sure 469 was one of them that year (but not so much this year).
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Unread 06-05-2010, 11:33 AM
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Re: Next Game Autonomous Mode

Quote:
Originally Posted by kramarczyk View Post
I asked their coach, Dan, that very question toward the end of the Troy event. His response was that they were not using the camera to target. The aiming skill during teleop is practice, not programming.
Thanks for clarifying, I watched the one YouTube clip and the accuracy was awesome from midfield. Also with the shots during autonomous, the way the robot rotates I thought it may be auto aiming. Definitely impressive driving from a team that spent most of their time sitting.

I still think auto aim and drive to target code are something you can expect in many autonomous periods, so having this work already done will put you in a good place for next year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Line View Post
Also, you forgot to mention 2008. That year the good teams usually owned the game by the end of autonomous (see Simbotics that year).
Totally forgot about that one, probably one of the best autonomous modes I've ever seen. I mean one full lap 2 track balls. Crazy....

Does anyone know of clips of riot crew in 2004, they were able to go out grab a movable goal uncap it and bring it back below the corral all in autonomous.
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Last edited by lineskier : 06-05-2010 at 11:40 AM.
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Unread 08-18-2010, 11:15 AM
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Re: Next Game Autonomous Mode

The current game structure has it about right. A short autonomous only period, followed by human control with no restriction on autonomous play in that period. I'd hate to see a fully autonomous game. It would dramatically lower the appeal of the FIRST competition to the casual audience. Only a few technosavants would pay to watch a fully autonomous NASCAR race or two robots playing tennis.

If a team were to develop a really good fully autonomous robot, it's legal. If this actually happened I think it would be a problem for FIRST. I doubt they want a fully autonomous game but there is no need for a rule now to prevent it because it is thought to be out of reach. So while it would be an awesome robot, it might force FIRST to change the rules and outlaw it.
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Unread 08-18-2010, 11:47 AM
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Re: Next Game Autonomous Mode

From a derived conclusion from a customer perspective of my "Value Proposition for an Optionally-Piloted Vertical Takeoff and Landing Platform" grad school project for the Blackhawk this summer:
Quote:
The time you would spend piloting the helicopter is not better spent worrying about why the helicopter is doing what it is doing.
In >90% of today's mobile platforms that perform any useful function, full autonomy does not save any time, money, or resources due to the exorbitant cost of development to reach the market in any shortened time frame. They simply add capability that previously was not there and usually increase cost by a factor of more than 2. Long-term, full autonomy is an option since the cost is so spread out, yet that is 25-30 years away for a full-scale system.

Last edited by JesseK : 08-18-2010 at 11:51 AM. Reason: bad grammar, bad!
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Unread 09-11-2010, 12:24 PM
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Re: Next Game Autonomous Mode

How about a game, where autonomous allowed for a specific strategy. For example:

The field is divided into two sides by a curtain running width-wise (the short distance) across the middle of the field. There are a couple of ways to go through (over, around, under) the curtain. However, none of these passages provide line of sight from the driver stations to the opposite side.

Each side has 3 goals in it. The goals are shaped like barrels a couple of feet in diameter. The goals are positioned against the wall of the driver station (as far from the curtain as possible); one on the far left, one on the far right and one in the middle.

The game could be split in two parts, 1:30 (1 minute 30 seconds) with the curtain down, and 1:00 with the curtain up (motors could lift it mid-game). During the first half, any ball scored in the goals would be worth double their normal value.

Since attacking drivers have no line of sight (you are attacking the other teams goals... on the other side of the curtain), the attacking robots would have to be able to identify which goals were unguarded and then be able to target them and score. Drivers could help as much as they want, but due to the lack of visibility it would be very hard to attack without at least some autonomous routines.

Teams that couldn't manage to create a good enough autonomous, could defend their goals, or store up balls, wait to the end, and hope that they could make up for their balls being worth less by scoring more of them.



What do you think?

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Unread 09-12-2010, 01:18 AM
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Re: Next Game Autonomous Mode

I'll answer with some reactions.

Rookies: "We have to do what??? We don't even know what autonomous is!"

Veterans: "So, after the lights in 2006 and 2007, and the targets in 2009 and 2010, we get to deal with zero visibility for half the game. Sounds like fun. Let's see if we can steal Wildstang's code for that."

Field setup: "Uh, the technical crew won't let us go up to put the lifting rig... we can't set this up."

Technical crew: "Hey, don't blame us. We just work here, and your lifting rig interferes with X system that we absolutely have to have there. Why couldn't you guys have a ground-based system?"

Field teardown: "You want to put all these motors and cables into the road cases in what order?"

Audience: "zzzzzz Oh, hey, the robots are scoring like crazy now that the curtain is removed. Oh, match over. Match starting... zzzzzzzz"

I'll let you figure out if any of those reactions is what you're looking for.

Remember, absolutely nothing in any of the 2010 rules (or any ruleset dating back as far as I can remember, for that matter--say about 2005 or earlier) says anything about autonomy not being allowed outside of autonomous mode.
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Unread 09-12-2010, 02:59 AM
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Re: Next Game Autonomous Mode

You can say "Rookies will find it hard" with literally any change in the FRC challenge. I'm kind of tired of hearing of it as a blanket "this idea won't work" response, because that applies to any game that doesn't have a role for an unmodified kitbot. Granted, it's been 4 years since the unmodifed kitbot could not score an offensive point (or run empty cells in Lunacy), but still. It's a challenge. Any kind of "it's too hard" response shouldn't be used as a reason not to do something. More like a reason to definitely do something.
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Unread 09-12-2010, 11:09 AM
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Re: Next Game Autonomous Mode

I wonder if the large advantaged gained by successful autonomous operation during FTC matches is part of a devious master plan to trick students (shortly before they join an FRC team) into learning how to do autonomous operations well?

Maybe the value of the autonomous part of FRC matches will be increased in a few years because enough students will have passed through FTC training?

Or maybe not, for any number of reasons - But if there is a master plan, I hope it succeeds.

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Unread 09-12-2010, 12:03 PM
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Re: Next Game Autonomous Mode

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris is me View Post
You can say "Rookies will find it hard" with literally any change in the FRC challenge.
Let's take a look at the proposed idea. For simplicity, we'll assume that the barrels are open end up, and the rookie team has infinite materials.

1) Getting objects into goals. This is a standard challenge. I would presume that any rookie could build a robot that would theoretically be able to do this in some way.

2) Going through the curtain. Also somewhat standard, other than entanglement risks. Again, any rookie could build a robot to do this.

3) 1) on the far side of the curtain, where target visibility is nil from the operator's station. In order to be successful, your rookie team needs to, at minimum, have a camera feed going to the driver's station (assuming that that is possible in any given year). How many veteran teams had trouble with that this last year?

4) Apply 3) to semi-autonomous operation. Again, how many veterans had trouble with auto mode last year? Much fewer, but how many used the camera?

As a rookie team, I'd be tempted to either do too much (automode the whole way) or not even attempt it at all. Even a number of veteran teams would probably not attempt blind scoring for a number of reasons. This leads to the audience reaction to that type of game--boredom for the first half except when a robot actually scores on the far side, followed by interest during the second half when the curtain disappears and robots start scoring like crazy. That first reaction alone would probably be enough to take the game down before the GDC finished designing it.

I think Breakaway is about as far as the GDC is willing to go in terms of hidden targets--reversed from the view of the drivers so they have a harder time lining up.
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