Collisions and Resulting Penalties

Firstly, these views are my own. Please don’t attribute these thoughts to team 88. I am an alumni and just an observer. Hard to get away from it all, huh?

I’m curious about the rules on robot “hitting” and “tipping” in this game. In a playoff match at the SEMass District, team 88 unfortunately had a collision with team 157 that resulted in their robot being tipped. Obviously, you hate to see it happen, but it’s a potential result of fast moving robots. As an observer, I felt bad that it occurred, but there isn’t much to be done about it. There was no penalty given and I don’t even think there was discussion about it, even in a playoff match.

Today in Q21 of the RI District, there was coincidentally another collision between 88 and 157 that resulted in tipping of 157 (what are the odds, right?). This time, there was a long review and ultimately 88 was issued a red card for the match.

This confused me as it wasn’t a consistent call from event to event. The referees have the say in such issues and I totally respect their decisions, but I don’t understand if this a game rule or judgement call. I couldn’t find anything in the manual about “high-speed collisions” or “tipping”. I know 88 has a strong drive-train this year and the visibility in the neutral zone can be difficult. 157’s robot is definitely taller than most, making it more likely to topple during a collision.

Please understand that this isn’t a complaint. The referees have a VERY tough job on their hands and they work extremely hard. 100% respect for all that they do. I also hate to see a robot disabled for a match. It’s really no fun for anyone. But is something incidental worthy of a red card?

Any ideas why there would be an inconsistency here? Has anyone seen other penalties vary from event to event?

One thing refs take into consideration is if both robots rammed into each other or if it was just one robot ramming into the other

I’m guessing the red card was called under G08

Don’t tear others down to lift yourself up. Strategies aimed at the destruction or inhibition of ROBOTS via attachment, damage, tipping, entanglements, or deliberately putting a GEAR on an opponent’s ROBOT are not allowed.
Violation: FOUL and YELLOW CARD. If harm or incapacitation occurs as a result of the strategy, RED CARD

Hmm…I bet you’re right. I find it a little upsetting that they would assume that it was deliberate though.

It all depends on the context. Last year we had a lightweight defensive bot that was low to the ground, and we almost tipped 4 separate robots. We were never issued a card for when they were either supported upright only by their bumper or other mechanism on the robot, we did not plow through them, instead we waited for them to regain balance to start pushing on them again. If defense is played, or if there is robot to robot contact, one robot must not continue to push on another robot if there is a 100% chance of them felling them with another push.

We played a defensive robot this year, and we had to teach me and our other driver to back away after a hit for a second to avoid calls of trying to break their robot intentionally. This would probably also go under G08 which says “Strategies aimed at the destruction or inhibition of ROBOTS via attachment, damage, tipping, entanglements, or deliberately putting a GEAR on an opponent’s ROBOT are not allowed.
Violation: FOUL and YELLOW CARD. If harm or incapacitation occurs as a result of the strategy, RED CARD”
They may have views the hit as an intentional one meant to knock the other robot over. That really sucks because getting a robot knocked over can seriously damage it, and so that may have affected their call.
Sorry about that red card
Hope this helped

Tipping has always been an iffy thing for refs to call because the intent can be hard to judge.

On one hand - why did xxxx team make a robot with a high CG? They should exhibit better design practice to avoid tipping.

On the other hand - strategies aimed at tipping fall under the ‘don’t be a jerk’ regime, and if there’s a real possibility of that tipping happening one ought to be taking it easy.

My own opinion is that this is an engineering/design competition as much as anything else, so teams should be designing robust robots. Those without robust robots shouldn’t be handled with kid gloves, protection from vaguely-worded rules is a bad general policy because it is a disincentive for good robot design.

Perhaps the reason for the card at your second event is that you had already tipped that team before. So, in the second instance (conceivably) your drivers knew that tipping was a real possibility, and did it anyway. I’m not saying they did it on purpose, I’m saying that they lost plausible deniability after it happened the first time.

FWIW I have noticed inconsistencies in reffing across events this year, more so than in years’ past.

I’d be interested to see match video… Personally, I see NO way in which this should be called as a foul/penalty/card IF the situation in which it happened was where two teams are driving at high speed across the field towards each other and they clip robot corners, which often causes tall robots with a small footprint to tip (it’s been happening since 2013).

Since both robots are moving very quickly and are hard to control within a +/- 4" of accuracy at full speed (particularly when depth is involved), I don’t see how a team could consistently implement this maneuver if it were strategy.

It’s an unfortunate situation for a team that built a tippy robot, but it should be a learning lesson that a robot that is stable under static conditions can behave very differently under dynamic conditions. Hopefully teams that have seen this happen multiple times can adjust robot design or game play to avoid these scenarios for this year and can then design their robots to be more resistant to tipping in the future.


Video of 987 tipping 1011 in 2013:
Video of the seconds before 88 tipped 157 at SE Mass:

I saw both collisions, and in both cases the correct call was made.

At SEMass, it was a straight head-on collision, at some speed, both bots rocked back a bit, and that caused 157 to tip, while 88 then moved around them.

AT RIDE, the hit was at lower speed and 88 plowed through 157. There was a split-second where 88 could have backed off, but did not.

I know for a fact that there was no intent, but the refs have to call things as they see them, and when one robot plows through the other, the correct call is to issue a red card.

Ahhh that would explain it. Thanks for the clarification. I guess they’ll have to be more careful in the future! One problem of building a strong drive train I suppose.

Now that I’ve had my caffeine and regained my energy after an exciting weekend, I just wanted to say team 157, does NOT believe, in any way, that either collision was intentional. It was just the by-product of on-field contact and friendly competition. As two of the oldest veteran teams in New England, we have the utmost respect for team 88 and always look forward to competing with them.

The feeling is mutual! :slight_smile:

We tipped 5994 during quals 44at Montreal.

Our line of sight was obstructed by the airship, so we didn’t know we were tipping them. I realized what was happening too late. We got a yellow card for it, and i’m glad we didn’t get a red one.

We went over to the team’s pit afterwards to see if we caused any damage, and if we could help with something. Luckily everything was alright!

This is the way most refs I know call it. If a robot starts to tip, and the other robot backs off, no problem. If a robot tips but there wasn’t time for the other robot to back off, no problem. If a robot starts to tip and the other robot has the time and ability to back away to stop the tip and doesn’t, it’s a penalty.

It’s a tough rule to call because you’re asking Refs to assume intent.