10 days in -- Has your tall vs. short robot decision changed?

During the first couple of days, teams that thought they were going to build a short vs. tall robot seemed pretty evenly split. Now that we’re 10 days in, what is your team thinking?

  • Our team is planning to build a short robot (<28")
  • Our team is planning to build a tall robot (>28")

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We have changed several times on this. May do so again.


1st we determined our strategy for the game. That strategy then dictated the height of our robot. We have not changed from that point of view.


We did this in 2016 and ended up building beyond our means.

I think we could hit <28" this year, but we’re not going for it.

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These results are terrifying.

So many teams constraining themselves for a marginal benefit. There are benefits to designing a robot that is shorter than 28"… but those benefits aren’t worth the added design challenge for a large majority of teams.

Many elite teams are going to build tall robots. That should say a lot about the tall versus short tradeoff.

If building a short robot slows your development process, takes away practice time, or prevents you from playing any major aspect of the game (especially climbing reliably) you should build a tall robot.


That’s cool. There are two reasons why we have waffled. The first is that going under the Control Panel was a nice thing to have but never a priority for us, and as our designs have taken shape we ended up with short, then tall, then short again. The second is that we are still evolving in our understanding of how the game will be played.

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Yeah we have no idea which way we are leaning at least from my perspective. Personally going short
only really has one benefit but then there is the numerous design challenges that come to the expense of being short. But yeah the idea that one can have slightly faster cycle times doesn’t justify the rest of the potential failure points of going small via design errors or issues that may come up

Additionally, if everyone is short, the traffic benefit no longer exists. The trench run is not 2 robots wide. If these numbers are representative (it’s worth noting CD generally isn’t), many low bots will find themselves waiting on alliance partners to cross or being forced into the shield generator anyway.

Definitely agree and with the short bots not being really able to handle defense IMO it sort of defeats the purpose of going short

I just want the darn robot to fit in my Tahoe more easily.


Still technically undecided here but probably going tall. Decision is primarily going to be influenced by maximizing endgame success. In 2016, we made the choice to both go under the 18” low bar and put 10” mountain board tires on the chassis to easily clear the rock wall. It worked in terms of helping us rack up RP, but it was a packaging nightmare I hope we get to avoid this year.

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And that right there is the bottom line on how to choose your design!:grin:


We’re still thinking low as we have been since kickoff, but we’re holding daily packaging and integration update meetings bc we’re terrified about running into space issues. My main worry was the climber, but we have a good plan for that that could work at a height of ~20 inches so I’m less terrified than before.

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Sorry, but there’s an ambiguity here that makes me nowhere near terrified, at least not yet. As I have noted elsewhere, the ability to become shorter than 28" for the purposes of making the trench run isn’t incompatible with shooting from close to 45" off the carpet. With a pivot point near the rear of the robot a foot or slightly more or less off the carpet, this reconfiguration could very easily result in a team putting their floor intake outside the bumpers and their launcher high and also enabling a trench run - the best of both worlds.


Obviously we don’t compete with you guys so I wouldn’t expect you to know this… but we’ve had some experience with these types of robots

I just don’t think the added complexity that that type of design requires is worth it to make it under the Trench this season.

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Fifteen years of hauling robots around, takes it’s toll!


Lol. That honestly went through my thought process too

Of course not - I’m inspecting and queueing teams in Little Rock and Kenner and doing whatever they need me to do at Houston CMP this year. My current robot project is competing against Harrison County MS soil.

The only complexity I’m thinking about is an arm that starts inside the FP and is close to 45" tall, then lowers to produce a robot height that can run the trench and also take in game pieces just outside the frame perimeter. This could be controlled with a single channel of pneumatics; it doesn’t get much simpler.

Added: #shortRunningTrenchTallShooting


We are limited by the need to fit our robot into 2 or 3 pieces that will each fit into checked baggage limitations (size and weight). Also, we had no trouble designing a robot that does everything we want, and is below 28". Not sure why so many seem to feel that it is hard to do that, we have not been tempted at all to make a bigger robot, nor have we felt constrained in our strategy/ability/design choices by the height limitation.


A short bot can still go through the middle of the field. A short bot has one more option for field movement than a tall bot, and that additional option is protected.