Why should points be awarded for this in the first place? Additionally, this change would allow teams to simply sit in front of opponents’ scoring locations for the duration of a match and not only be preventing the opponent from scoring, but be scoring points for themselves the whole time. They’re winning by doing nothing- seems weird.
Also, teams who currently use automated sequences during tele-op to assist the drivers are already benefiting from having faster cycle times and therefore scoring more points. Adding even more points on top of that will probably further the gap between those teams with enough resources/mentorship to accomplish these levels of autonomy and those teams who are already struggling to get to that level.
I think the 15-seconds of autonomous mode at the start of the match is ideal.
I think the thrust of this idea is to give programmers more challenges throughout the match. But the fact is that at least the top teams have automated a significant amount of their operations throughout the match. 1678 has automated shots or placements once the driver gets into place. Doing more of that should challenge programmers so that we don’t need to have separate auto points.
I see multiple posts saying that autonomous is already too difficult for many teams and that teams don’t have enough resources to do this. However, this outcome is just a matter of the team’s focus. If we simply made autonomous 30 or 45 seconds long, I doubt that any team would sit there for the entire period. The problem is that autonomous isn’t worth enough. Teams are fine with ignoring that 15 second period. Having a longer auto duration will also make the programmers “stand out more” as the original post’s objective.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that. You’re coming from FLL, yes? FLL teams run in automode(s) all match. I’d argue that the code is semantically easier, but algorithmically the same difficulty or possibly harder.
But in FRC, in my /me checks calendar 16 seasons of watching auto*, teams routinely struggle to do the simple task of “drive forwards two robot lengths without touching the controls”. I don’t think I’ve seen a single event where 15 seconds (or 10 seconds) of auto wasn’t too much for at least one team. Even if the advantages of doing that auto were massive, or the disadvantages of not doing it equally massive. Especially if there were large advantages that weren’t immediately obvious. (And especially when doing so required stopping before going into the opposite side of the field… oops.)
*OK, FINE. 13 seasons of auto, 2 of hybrid ('08, '12), 1 of sandstorm.
If the auto period were 30, 40, 50, 60 seconds long, we’d have the same robots playing Mars Rock for 30, 40, 50, 60 seconds that are currently doing it for 15 seconds. We might see a few of them try to do an extra task or two, but I think we’d see even more teams do the 30+ second Mars Rock automode. Those teams are then at an even bigger disadvantage to teams like 254 and 1678, who while they’re sitting still for 30, 40, 50, 60 seconds doing zilch have scored 10-15 game pieces without bothering to ask the humans for further input. (Based on their 2018 robots, good for 3 power cubes in 15 seconds.)
tl;dr: If you make auto too long, the already great teams will wipe the floor with everybody else even faster than they already do because the not-so-great teams will be idle longer.
Instead of asking how to make programmers stand out, maybe we should be asking what could programmers do to make the robot stand out.
I’d much rather have a game like 2019 where the robots that stood out were the ones that placed 2 hatch panels in sandstorm, soloed a rocket, had a lvl 3 HAB climb or was a good defender than a game like 2018 where the robots that stood out had a 3-4 cube scale auto routine and a lot of matches were decided in the first 15 seconds.
It’s an order of magnitude easier in FLL. FLL teams get to pick up and reorient their robot by hand as long as it enters a square roughly 3 times longer and wider than most robots. If FRC teams could manually reset their robots every time they drove into a 10x10 foot space, I’m sure our autos would be better across the board.
Going back to the original post, this point isn’t really accurate, either. Take 2018 Power Up for example. Many lower-level teams would attempt to drive forward and score a cube in their switch during autonomous, and that was all they wanted to do. If they misplaced the cube, they didn’t totally fail- they just scored 5 points and did their part for scoring their alliance the Auto Quest bonus RP just for driving forward! Looking at higher-level teams, many would attempt to score 2, 3, or even 4 cubes during autonomous. Sometimes, one cube would fall off of the scale, or the robot would stop just short of intaking an additional cube before moving onto the next action. If they missed 1/3 cubes, that is not a fail- they scored 2! That’s well above average.
The issue with this year was that even though an entire subteam did a lot of work they had next to no way to show off skill. Sure two hatch autos were rare but you didn’t even need to run auto to get it and it wasn’t all that important. However last year was to far but at least it did show off all aspects of a team. A single programmer can’t say I did all of that as you needed a good robot to be able to do anything
I’d like the FRC game design to wall off a section (or two) on the field, when the robot enters + trips the sensor it goes auto.
The potential benefit to teams would be no defense allowed, and maybe a slight scoring boost. The potential drawback is losing your robot for a while (minimum time before controls returned to driver, or robot must leave zone on its own).