Is it reasonable for a drive team to ask an opposing alliance to change their uniform? (Sounds like an unusual question I know, but bear with me).
At the Midwest regional last weekend, there was a drive team who’s uniform included safety vests with retro-reflective stripes on them. With the number of robots using vision tracking, it would seem to be reasonable to ask them to remove their vests during competition to prevent false detections.
Given the way our camera is mounted, I don’t think it affected our performance, but one of the only misses we had during autonomous was while we were against this team, and the miss was in the general direction of their team. Also while testing in the pits, their team walked by and we did have a momentary indication of a goal detection. Coincidence? Note, I don’t believe they were attempting to cause a distraction as I think they’ve been using those vests for several years.
I know vision tracking systems should be set up to filter out items outside the expected area (but this is not something that I had previously considered), but would it be reasonable to ask a team to take off similar items of apparel if you were concerned about it?
To me it would be GP to comply, but what if they refused?
This sounds like something you would ask a ref at the event to enforce, and I believe there is a rule specifically starting that you cannot be wearing/using devices/clothing/etc. to interfere with robots, which sounds like what has happened in this case.
We noticed similar problems at CIR and Iowa. At CIR we think that one of our alliance partners locked onto the green Mohawk our HP was wearing and they almost shot her in the face. At Iowa there was a team with green light up ties in the stands and our bot took two auto shots at them (the refs caught one). We sent a pair of team members over to where they were sitting and asked nicely, and they would turn them off when we were on the field.
Here in Southern California we had several teams whose Safety Captains wore reflective vests. The reflective tape pattern was similar to the target’s. Two vertical stripes and one horizontal at the bottom. We asked them not to wear the vests near the field and especially not in the Player Station. Nobody had a problem when the reason was explained
As you noted, our drive team has been wearing the safety vests and hard hats since we started in 2007 and, to my knowledge, have never had any problems with other robots vision tracking. Because of this, we never even had a second thought that this year would be any different and played through our 2 regionals this year continuing to wear them. It has never been our intent to interfere with another team, just something our team does as part of our safety culture.
Had we been approached by the Head Ref or another team with an explanation, we would have taken our safety vests off or covered the reflective parts to remove the problem.
As it is, at Midwest we were concerned with the scrolling banner showing sponsor logos getting in the way of our vision tracking as it was popping up on our camera’s during field calibration. We talked to the head ref about it and he said if it became an issue to let him know. Luckily, it didn’t seem to impacted our shots at all.
I was not aware of the issue, please ask me next time. This is a question that the LRI, FTA and Head Ref should be made aware of. It seems that one of the issues that teams are experiencing is the wide angle fixed lenses of the cameras many teams use. We can talk this weekend, I am planning on coming by.
Thanks Al. Unfortunately I wasn’t aware of it until we were doing our post event analysis.
Just to be clear, I wasn’t trying to place any blame or start a witch hunt for teams using safety vests with reflective decorations (I hope no-one took it as such).
I just wanted (and think we did successfully) to start a dialog to make teams with similar decorations and teams using vision tracking be aware that the shape of the vision targets this year is very similar to the shape of the decorations on some of these articles of clothing, and to establish the correct method of dealing with it if someone believed that they might be having an issue.