Contrary to popular opinion..."wedge" robots are out

<R04> Bans robots with wedged surfaces. Any surface less than 8.5" above the ground that may contact other robots must be within 10 degrees of vertical.

Last season, there was a CD thread/poll suggesting that FIRST address wedged or “ramp” bots. It seems that many teams were frustrated by robots (Team 980’s included) that had a wedge design that discouraged pushing or ramming. There were 73 replies to the question: ‘Should FIRST address “ramp bots”?’ The poll question was “Should FIRST make a rule to limit the angle of the sides of our robots?” So this year, FIRST imposed a rule limiting the angle.

BTW, Here’s the thread/poll from last season:

Does this qualify as a disconnect :confused: ??

While FIRST did make a rule regarding wedge bots y’know there are folks who will “interpret” the rules as it suits them and test the limits. We’ll see come competition time how strict they are with the rule.
I think the main reason FIRST put forth the rule is because this years game endorses more physical action and this is the trade off so we don’t have toppled robots littering the field.

Yeh, I suspect there’ll be some ball scoops that will get in the way of opposing robots causing some upsets.

One thing we found, though, is having a wedge or ramp REALLY discourages high-speed ramming. Now this year, robots get bumpers with “free mass” to protect themselves from collisions. I’ve got this feeling that we’ll see more robot parts on the field due to some “crisp hitting”.

BTW - Happy FIRST 39th B-day, Koko Ed :wink: !

I like this new rule. Defensive wedges are fine if used defensively, problem was, they weren’t.
If you have a “defensive wedge” you really should not be able to push/ram at all, cus then it becomes and “offensive wedge”. But when teams began to get penelized for tipping when doing such, they complained. Banning wedges solves this problem.
Note that also, there is a penelty for high speed ramming anyway.

High speed, long distance. I really like this addition, makes it less restricting.

I think the reason we started to see a proliferation of wedges in the past few years is because the ramming rules were rarely enforced. With larger and larger motors being added to the kit, it meant that teams who chose to use a “defensive” strategy of pushing and ramming were able to do more damage than in the past.

I understand there was misuse of wedges and I assume that’s what led to this rule, but in some ways I’m disappointed. If a team is able to bolt 4 (or 6) motors onto a chassis and have a primary strategy of pushing others around, it seems only fair that another team can choose to take away that advantage by eliminating a pushing surface so that they can try to score points. I’m worried that with 6 very powerful motors available in the kit this year that the “no wedge” rule will tip the scales heavily in favor of robots designed solely to harass other robots. Hopefully FIRST tightens down the screws a little bit and really enforces the “no ramming” rule - pushing, blocking, etc. are fine, but backing up many feet and then running full-tilt into another robot repeatedly isn’t cool (and yes, this happened last year at more than one regional).

powerful dozer-bots will not necessarily rule the field this year.

if your bot is agile and able to zip around the field and still be accurately controlled to gather and deliver balls then it will run circles around a bull dozer.

last year a robot from another alliance with a wedge style robot rammed our robot full speed from the side, tipping us onto our side, in finals no less! Needless to say, the refs never called either of the rule violations (tipping with a simple machine, ramming at full speed) and we did not go any further in finals. I hope this no wedge rule is enforced if it is in place.

I don’t like this rule for the fact that it doesn’t address only the offensive wedges, but it also bans “inverted” wedges. Consider the ramp at the end of a match, a team with an “inverted” wedge at 60 degrees (complementary angle) that has small rubber wheels on the wedge, should slide up the ramp easier than a robot with straight sides. The inverted wedge will convert your forward motion upwards, helping your robot climb the ramp. This could allow a robot to stay on the field a couple more seconds shooting or playing defense, and make a last second dash to the ramp.

The rule is well intended, and needed, but its’ general nature is too restrictive.

You can make broad statements about that all day long, but it probably won’t happen. You may be agile, you may even be more agile than a defensive robot, but will you be agile enough to “run circles” around it? Probably not.

What if a powerful dozer bot is agile, and able to zip around the field while still being accurately controlled to harass my ball deliverer? (This is a frequent occurance, despite Ken’s assertions to the contrary.)

I know in this situation I’d want a defensive wedge in this situation. (In fact, we put one on the robot last year, for just this reason.)
A wedge says: “You can hit me, but you’re not going to accomplish anything.”

At least FIRST made a clear statement concerning this; even if they did go against “popular opinion”. Kudos to a very clear ruling.


sure you can make a shifting transmission, but you cant defy the laws of physics

a light robot that has low inertia wheels (thin wheels) can also be built with a lightweight shifting tansmission

a robot with wheels or treads designed to have a lot of pushing power must put big treads on the floor, and it will weight more, have more inertia in the wheels and drive train, so motor for motor it will be slower and harder to control. An Abrams tank can go 60mph, but it cannot corner like a race car.

Besides, the rules clearly state you cannot fly across the field and slam into another robot, so if you do have a fast dozer bot, you cannot zip across the field to push another bot around, unless you stop first (and downshift).

A bull can outrun a bullfighter, but the bullfighter is able to step out of its way.

The first portion of rule <R04> will be easy to enforce objectively and enforcement will most likely occur during robot inspection:

<R04> "Wedge” robots are not allowed. Robots must be designed so that interaction with other robots results in pushing rather than tipping or lifting. Neither offensive nor defensive wedges are allowed. All parts of a robot between 0 and 8.5 inches from the ground (the top of the bumper zone – see Rule <R35>) that might push against another robot must be within 10 degrees of vertical. Devices deployed outside the robot’s footprint should be designed to avoid wedging. If a mechanism or an appendage (a ball harvester, for example) becomes a wedge that interferes with other robots, penalties, disabling, or disqualification can occur depending on the severity of the infraction.

So, robots that are designed with a wedge shape will simply not pass inspection and won’t be allowed to compete. The latter portion of the rule would be an official’s decision during a match. If you use a ball scoop or movable flaps to get underneath another robot, you can be penalized - or worse. This would be a subjective call - since the degree of severity needs to be determined. We’ll probably will be discussing this during the competition season…

I, too am glad to see this rule, I just hope it is enforced. Us 222 folks don’t care how much any team tries to push us as long as you don’t lift our bot up with your wedge like frame.

All I can say is: “Try to push/move us this year!” :wink:

Our robot had wedges in 2003 and 2005 and neither were ever intended to be used as offensive tool.

In 2003 they were used as a defensive strategy to defend the top of the ramp and to defend a stack. We never used them to displace another robot. In fact, there’s a match that stands out in my mind from Great Lakes…We were defending a stack and our opponent tried to drive over us. In the process, they got stuck on our wing. We could have used that position to drive forward and tip them, but instead, our drivers held their position for almost the entire match.

In 2005 wings were a necessity for us. With a lift going up as high as 15 feet, we needed to protect ourselves from tipping. The wings not only acted as outriggers, but they protected us in case a robot bumped/pushed/rammed us while we were elevated.

While I disagree with the rule, I respect the fact that it is clear. It’s just another design constraint that needs to be dealt with.

The issue I always had with wedges was that they enabled any robot to be a very, very, very effective defensive bot with possibly destructive consequences. A robot with a wedge that was fast but not necessairly strong was just as effective as one that was slow and strong. The fast robot needed only to build up some speed(not tons mind you, just a 5 foot start would be enough) to throughly wedge under an opposing robot. Last year the only time my team’s robot, which had a very low center of gravity was tipped was when a wedged robot rammed it. I respected wedge use on robots such as wildstangs last year where they were obviously built for a specific reason and used purely in a defensive manner. However a defensive wedge or not, it was becoming hazardous for a robot to even try to play defense on wedged robot, due to the issue with just being attacked and tipped on the way to the wedged robots goal. So while I dislike the fact that there is another constraint on the robots I do acknowlege it as a major issue.

Just to show how a wedge bot would be effective in this game. A robot with a wedge at the top of the ramp, would be able to get under absoluetly any robot as it comes over the ledge, pick them up and tip them over. The bumpers in this case guarantee hits above the drivertrain of the robot(and much closer to a robot’s CG) Another situation is on the transition between periods. A robot with wedges on the side would be able to effectively stop a robot from passing it. Just by driving back and forth across the field, as long as they were about the same speed as the robot they were blocking they would be able to easily stop them.

Just my take. I’ll miss the option of having them, but I won’t miss getting tipped over by a wedged robot at all.

All I have to say is with a ramp like that many drive trains are going to be cut at a certain angle or build slightly high to allow the robot up the ramp. If all a robot had to do was use it’s wedge defensively against most of the robots there then the game has a flaw. I am in support of this rule.

I suppose I’ll have to fall on the side of being in favor of the new rule. Offensive and defensive wedges both bother me. Offensive wedges for obvious reasons. defensive wedges because they frankly tilt the playing field in favor of veteran teams than can make shooters accurate from 35 feet. If you can make a robot capable of this, surely you can put up with some pushing?

What’s a team to do if they just fail to build a robot that can shoot well or pick up balls? If you make it impossible for teams to play defense against top-rank offensive teams, then the game becomes completely one dimensional. I’m pretty sure many of use remember how fun an all offense, no defense game was.

Aside from all that, how would you sensibly allow “defensive” wedges in the rules? There was constant complaining of rules that depended on ref interpretation last year. I don’t see how you could allow defensive wedges without bringing intent into the rules. If the rule states that it’s not tipping in the wedge-bot is stationary, then your super offense bot is effectively paralyzed. All a birck bot team need do is wait for you to move, then run at you and get flipped over, and you’re disabled.

In summary, if you don’t want your shooter getting manhandled, put a parking brake on it.

As a member of a team that has been victim to “wedging” in the past, I welcome this change :smiley:

It should definately help level the playing field, since in many years “defense” becomes the default strategy of rookie teams or those with broken scoring mechanisms.

well all i wanna say is… no robot has ever pushed ours without us letting them… and we have pushed every robot we have desired to in the last 3 years… without wedges too! lol ill be shocked if anyone can push us at all this year… ():slight_smile:

Are inverted wedges really banned. As long as you have a significant (3") vertical face on the back side where robots would normally encounter each other wouldn’t a inverted slope to go up the ramp be ok?