Balls In Opposing Robots

I’ve seen numerous fouls called today on teams who had an opponent’s ball enter their robot. If a team has put the ball in your robot, or it accidentally enters your robot, why should you be penalized for trying to remove it?

I understand why it has been called this way, but it’s painful to see this create huge point differences…

I agree. It is extremely saddening to me that this caused 1114 to lose. They had the best robot there and in my opinion should’ve won. These penalties are deciding elimination matches when the penalties received are judgement calls. Meaning it is debatable as to whether or not the penalties should’ve been received. In the Finals at the Arkansas regional the Blue Alliance won the first match and the next two the Red Alliance won but solely because of foul points that were questionable.

On the note of 1114 what were the penalties for that match. I know there was a tech. foul for the possession of an opponents ball but was there another one?

Sorry, but the problem was entirely avoidable by the drivers having the robot back up when they saw the ball bouncing toward them. I watched this match as it happened. The GDC made no mistake in the rules by saying you should design your robot to make sure you don’t accidentally possess another team’s ball. That’s how it happened. There should be no changes made in the rules.

We got 50 foul points twice on our alliance for 100 tech foul points. Luckily we still won! It was for the same reason. They threw it in our intake. I can’t see why it’s a game changer?

I find that the rule covers all of the situations of possession but I don’t like the rule.

An ALLIANCE may not POSSESS their opponent’s BALLS. The following criteria define POSSESSION :

“carrying” (moving while supporting BALLS in or on the ROBOT or holding the BALL in or on the ROBOT),
“herding” (repeated pushing or bumping),
“launching” (impelling BALLS to a desired location or direction via a MECHANISM in motion relative to the ROBOT), or
“trapping” (overt isolation or holding one or more BALLS against a FIELD element or ROBOT in an attempt to shield them).

Violation: TECHNICAL FOUL per instance. If extended, another TECHNICAL FOUL. If strategic, RED CARD for the ALLIANCE.

Examples of BALL interaction that are not POSSESSION are

A. “bulldozing” (inadvertently coming in contact with BALLS that happen to be in the path of the ROBOT as it moves about the FIELD) and

B. “deflecting” (a single hit to or being hit by a BALL that bounces or rolls off the ROBOT or a BALL slips through the grips of a ROBOT without arresting the BALL’S momentum).

A BALL that becomes unintentionally lodged on a ROBOT will be considered POSSESSED by the ROBOT. It is important to design your ROBOT so that it is impossible to inadvertently or intentionally POSSESS an opponent’s BALL.

I find that is a very cold approach to the situation.

Since when should engineering not have a hard, defined, approach to a problem that could very easily occur.

While I did not see the second match, the final match was likely going to be a red alliance win without the foul, since 16 was in position to pick up the ball. All they needed to do was pick up the ball and truss it for the win. The fact that the opposing alliance member herded the red ball into the blue goal clearly changed the course of the match since then the ball inbounding would take longer than the 10 or so seconds left in the match.

As for the GTRE match, was the second tech foul pinning? That was enough to seal the game for the blue alliance (who won due to strong defense in the first match). The illegal catch just meant that the game was hard to win from an earlier point in the match. While I was cheering on the red alliance (3683 is long due for a championship appearance!), the red alliance got upset by a strong 5th seed.

The second tech foul was indeed pinning.


I completely agree with the decision on this matter. I saw this happen plenty of times both at week 1 events and this week, even in cases where the ball was not directly in the robot. It was clear possession, regardless of intent. It is unfortunate that it has happened to teams, all of which I’m sure were accidental, but it was clearly stated very early that you must design around this to make it impossible for that to happen. It’s no different than a robot designed to effectively shoot the ball. Both aspects are incredibly important parts of the game.

I think that the match would have been close without any penalties but there is a point where you may change how you act due to how the match is going.

If they threw it into your robot, apparently intentionally, ask the head ref why G14 was NOT called. Just sayin’, a G14 called for a human loading the wrong alliance’s robot will swing the final score by 100 points (takes off your T-foul and gives the opponents a T-foul).

This is exactly the kind of situation I saw at several events. I wasn’t there, but it certainly looked like this to me.

I agree, it’s a harsh rule. BUT think about it this way: anytime the other alliance’s ball is in your robot, that alliance cannot be scoring said ball. So it’s harsh, but it’s necessary to ensure that both alliances have as fair and equal scoring opportunities.

This. Teams need to know the rules. If you have a question, send a pre-college member to the question box to talk to the head ref asap after a match. That’s the only way something could possibly be done.

If someone intentionally puts the ball in your robot, you DON’T get a T-foul for that. The other team gets it!

If it accidentally enters your robot, it is on you to avoid that situation. Especially when you’ve been warned of it in the game manual.

I feel it is a reasonable foul because otherwise teams would make no effort to avoid possessing the wrong ball! It would add ~10 seconds to the other alliance’s cycle time. Think about it, without this rule, holding the other alliance’s ball would actually become a part of teams’ strategy!

As someone said earlier, the red robot at GTR-E should have driven backwards or just stopped going towards the ball - easily avoidable situation in my opinion.

Agreed, this is how it should be called…

Quoting for relevance:

Also, Copioli said it the best.

Though I understand the concerns behind this rule, I want to point out the best robot is not always necessarily the winner of the regional. In the first match, a combination of the blue alliance playing solidly and executing a strategy well combined with the time it took for the red alliance to rid itself of the third autonomous ball caused them to lose the match.

I remember during the drivers meeting at UNH we were reminded of this rule and told to “Make sure your robots are designed so they can’t hold an opponents ball”. I heard this and I know this was out of the control of our head ref (who did a fantastic job all weekend I think UNH ended extremely fair and of the few problems that did go wrong they were remedied quick and fair) but this is coming directly from FIRST so what kind of bogus line is this? Are we all supposed to put a bunch of sensors on our robot to detect red/blue balls and close up our intakes when we get near one?

We all know the intent of the rules because if the rule didn’t exist teams would just grab opponents balls and play keep away for the match but most of the calls for possessing an opponents balls are either accidental or caused by the alliance that is benefiting by getting the penalty points.

Same thing with the G40 problems of week 1 its the accidental infractions of the rule that are killing teams because the penalties for tech fouls are way too large for minor offenses!

I’ll second this, and expand to say that this game was designed very well such that its not the best robots that win, but rather that the best alliance wins. Hence why there are so many “upsets”