Benefits of Ground Pickup in 2019

I saw 5172 pickup HP from the floor at Carson field in world’s. They were rank 1. It was so unexpected I had to watch how they got the hatch panels in the field.

I saw more matches where a loading station stopped being able to stage hatch panels than I saw a team pick up hatch panels from the floor.

We at least got the extra RP here because of ground pickup. We would have gotten the win too because of it, but for one foul against our alliance.

Ground pickup enabled us to quickly utilized hatches dropped by us, or our alliance, which was useful in completing rockets with variable alliance partners. It probably helped us get RPs, and maybe some ties, more so than wins. Definitely a ‘nice to have’ and not a ‘need to have’ capability.

However (and this is a BIG however) it did take a lot of prototyping and development time to get this mechanism to a point where we were happy with it. It is likely not a smart undertaking for many teams. It might not have even been a smart undertaking for us!

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Designed a floor pickup for the hatches. Took it off for our first regional. In hindsight- it never would have gotten used anyway. It was a diminishing return in regards to cycle times.

Basic premise was similar to a 2017 gear intake — Leading edge was thin Poly & there was an Active roller for active hold on the game piece. Worked well, just did not end up working into our strategic design.

Absolutely, 3512 fell victim to that this year suffered greatly because of it, although not due to a lack of trying on my part :roll_eyes:

That said, you can always examine the methods of constructing a floor intake independent of it’s usefulness.

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Ha, you lead right into my follow up question.

For teams that changed match outcomes with a floor hatch… How many less gamepieces per match were you scoring that 1114 and 2056? Would the time have been better spent on tuning and practice?


I split this discussion of the benefits of ground pickup from the discussion of how to design a ground pickup: Ground pickup of hatches

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If you are picking up your own dropped game pieces then it likely would have been better to spend time on making a mechanism that doesn’t drop game pieces. However there isn’t a whole lot you can do to reduce the amount of game pieces your partner drops.

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I would wager that the time spent fumbling with that hatch right in front of the cargo ship costed them any time they saved not going back to HP on other cycles. If that transition had been smooth, I’d agree with the statement that their ground pickup won them that match.

No Video, But I saw several hatches come off of the rocket when the cargo was placed. A couple of times it was picked up and put back on. I also saw once that an alliance descored their own cargo ship hatch. That meant that it would be quite effective for any alliance partner to re score it. I don’t remember if someone did…

Back in week one our elevator+intake wasn’t fully tuned, so some matches we’d have issues scoring. We had one match which right out of the gate was a 2v3. Our elevator code was having issues, so we switched to our ground hatch pickup, placed 1-2 hatches and won the match by one point.

Although we later took off the ground hatch (total time sink), it was at least useful once.

Although in hindsight if we just spent the time tuning the elevator or on drive practice instead of the ground hatch, the problem probably would never have occurred.

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No idea man–strategic choices early on made us (try) to pick up both game pieces internally, and drove the robot everyone saw on field. Obviously we accomplished that for just the hatches, and if I remember correctly we only used that ‘other side of the field’ capability in 1 match. It kind of reminded me of the robot we built to pull step totes down in 2015, which also was only ever used in 1 match. Sometimes you just build something with extra functions that you don’t really get anything out of.

Not sure how much better we could ultimately do with another robot–we got very close to matching our performance last year. It could also be that the floor pickup benefited us, but wouldn’t have done much for other teams. No idea. For all the time it saved us at the loading station, we spent a lot of time placing hatches on the cargo ship/rocket.

I’ll also add that we benefited tremendously by the early season rule change that allowed human players to shake the loading station. We would have had to burn a lot more time fiddling with our loading station hatch mechanism.

EDIT: I will add that one of the reasons we were very adamant about having a ground pickup early in the season was insurance in case this game turned into something like 2017 gears, where we frequently wished we had one but didn’t.

We were peaking somewhere around 12 or 13 pieces per match.

The trade-off decision (in hindsight) might have been: ground pickup and IR alignment or no ground pickup and vision alignment. Would we have done better with a different decision? Maybe. We did design the ground pickup such that we could remove it completely, tie it back, or otherwise disable it with no impact to our other mechanisms.

I feel like a bit of a hypocrite: I would not suggest most teams pursue such a mechanism. We were reasonably successful with a ground pickup mechanism. We learned a lot from developing it, used it effectively, and it didn’t significantly hold us back (probably). But our success was not BECAUSE of the ground pickup, nor did we succeed IN SPITE of it. Just a different way to play the game.

It was fun to have teams with so-so hatch mechanisms, or low-only hatch mechanisms, drop hatches off for us to score. It reduced field congestion and increase the speed and likelihood of finishing a rocket. Plus it took some time for defenders and announcers to catch onto what was going on.

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That is possibly the best answer here. We are all engineers. We learn to use again.

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Ugh. RIP 2018 triple robot lift. Never got to use it in a match.

The hatch ground intake of 1323 arguably saved the world championship victory for 973, 1323, 5026, 4201 during the second Einstein finals match in Houston where they picked up three hatch panels from the ground.

Had 254, 3310 and 6986 hit the triple climb in that match, that was only a 3 point victory for blue alliance.

Per video review, a typical 1323 loading station hatch cycle (placement to placement) was ~8-11 seconds. The 1st ground pickup cycle was ~5 seconds (+5 seconds). The 2nd hatch pickup cycle was ~9 seconds (no time gain), but they didn’t need to go through defense to get it (+2 second). The 3rd hatch pickup was ~7 seconds (+2 seconds). So, I’d estimate 1323 saved ~9 seconds by having a ground intake. This afforded them to perform ~2 extra cargo cycles (+6 pts), which had a much quick cycle time.

This aligns with their stats in the finals as well.

  • F1: Scored: 13, Missed: 2, Total: 15
  • F2: Scored: 16, Missed: 3, Total 19
  • F3: Scored: 15, Missed: 1, Total 16

So if they didn’t have the ground intake (and red hit the triple climb) they might have lost by 3 points - losing the championship in the process.

To your point though, assuming teams can’t parallel path intake development and drive practice, was a hatch ground intake a worthy pursuit over practice for the vast majority of teams? I’d say it wasn’t. However, did a hatch ground intake make the difference in winning a world championship? I’d say yes.


Our team (4152) was in the opposing alliance. Our human player made a mistake that cost us a hatch delivery. Don’t get me wrong, 1325 had a great robot and they played a great game. I think that some teams will try to focus on things like floor pickup when they can be more successful sticking to a simpler design.

Agreed on all points

This is a very good point. Though 20 hours of 1114/2056 tuning and practice will get different results than 20 hours of the “average team” tuning and practice. Understanding what your team can do with your own resources is still the key.

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5172 is much faster. So fast that their human players put hatches through the cargo hole because it was faster for them to drive over and pick it up than to drive a few inches further and get it from the station

Obviously biased, but I think from a case study perspective this premise is pretty weak for 95% of teams, law of large numbers and all that other bs.

I’m really surprised we didn’t see more bots like 5499’s in 2019, and I think it’s a reflection of the FRC community in general choosing to optimize robot over objective.

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