Alignment of Robot and Tote Chute

Our robot feeds from the human player and needs to align itself with the opening of the chute. We are having trouble doing it effciently and quickly and the process is eating up our time during the matches. How are the others handling this problem?

What type of drive train do you have? If you have a holonomic drive system, you could make a button that allows you to slide sideways easily.

Driver Practice is the biggest thing. I got much better at it through our first competition. We also put two thin poles with bright yellow tape on the left and right sides of where the chute door needed to be, which helped a lot.

I would look to the side of the chute itself and track that big fat FIRST logo. I don’t really see a reasonable way to track a transparent wall.

If you want a “black box” method, then look into SURF.

We have a H drive. We do use our middle wheel quite a lot to adjust but even them it’s take up to ten seconds to align ourselves.

We use the simple of system of having the human player watch the robot and give hand signals to the driver to tell them to strafe.

So do we, however, we still find this eating up a lot of time because the totes can sometimes land on its side. Also, this method is harder when we are in the second drive station.

If you have a camera, I suggest using it to help line up. As for what to track, either focus on the red (or blue) of the chute itself, or possibly the metal rods underneath that support it.

I suppose that ultimately, unless you have enough time to implement and test automatic alignment, your best bet is just as much practice as possible.

Our robot feeds from the back, through the robot. On the back of our robot we’ve got a long red plastic piece that corresponds to the side of the tote chute. The human player can use that to guide the driver in lining the robot up with the chute door* so we’re ready when he opens it.

*yes, chute door.

We have a two wheel drive robot, (wasn’t my choice, but it has worked out ok, as we ranked 5th and took 3rd place at Northern lights)

After our week zero event, we added an orange fiberglass 1/4" diameter post (home depot, $2) directly above the point of rotation (center, back) when spinning the bot and the driver knows to drive until the orange post is aligned with the perpendicular to the chute door (yes, chute door) or tote. It also occurred to me after our competition that the human player can position himself directly in line with the chute and give a hand signal when the orange post is aligned (or just before) so the driver knows to stop and rotate.

I’m going to lobby for practicing this technique (driver watching human player prior to bot rotate) prior to the MN State Tourney.