Drive Station Restrictions

My team is building a new drive station this year using a pelican case we bought in order to replace the old one that is falling apart a little bit. We ran across an issue in the rule book however with the size restrictions relating to the drive station. The two big questions are 1) Are the measurements taken when it is fully deployed or when it is in a compact form and 2) What is considered as “depth”? If anyone has any comments or advise it would help a lot. Thank you!

Are you referring to a specific rule?

If you’re referring to 3.11.1, depth refers to the length of the shelf measured in the long direction of the field.

My understanding of the rule is that it was put in place to keep teams from building huge driver stations that could fall off the driver station shelf or be in some way dangerous to operators or bystanders. If that were the intention, I would imagine that the rule applies when the driver station is fully deployed, not just in transport. That being said, I’ve never actually seen anyone measure the driver station to see if it complies with the rules (with the exception of height for camera poles).

I have always interpreted “depth” to be the distance from the front (the side facing you) to the back (the side facing the lexan).

Standard disclaimer about rules in future seasons possibly changing and the only official rule clarifications coming from the Q&A

I believe any sizing is at “fully deployed”. For example, the height restriction on the driver stations was (probably) a response to “eye-in-the-sky” cameras that were popular in 2016 due to the field obstructions. These cameras would start small, but then be extended up to huge heights (some teams had 30+ft poles with cameras on them until they put the height restriction in).

As an RI I’ve measured many driver’s stations. Certainly not everyone as some are really just a lap top and controllers but when I see something larger out comes the tape measure.

I have had our DS measured the first year after we had built a new one, in subsequent years the RIs have looked at it and either said nothing at all, or, we had one that asked if it was the same DS as the previous year, which it was.

The rule is mostly there for the safety of your selves and even more so, your equipment so I would strongly suggest not trying to stretch this one.

Realize every RI is a little different in what they look at. But. They have to (or supposed to) follow the rules as written. The DS dimensions are on the robot inspection checklist. If they measure the DS and it is bigger than allowed you will be required to fix it. No matter how many events it has been to. Insert the usual disclaimer about current rules here. One year the width was a little shorter to accommodate one the field driver station being narrower.

Oh… the old LRI-a-roo.

We got a pelican case for our driver station one year and were told at the immediate next event that it wouldn’t be allowed on the shelf (depth dimension, i.e. parallel to the floor and the long side of the field, too long). We were okay with this, as we mainly just got it for transport, and it is nice for that.

Huh, some interesting stories here. Ours is definitely measured at every standard district event; I forget if they checked it at DCMP. As for how it’s measured, I imagine it’ll be measured in whatever form it’s going to be in during a match; however, there’s some leeway in the way the rule was written, so it’ll be up to your LRI.

Unless the rules next year clearly state something else, I would build based on a “deployed” dimension. (Going back to 2013), the only cases I can think of where the size of stuff moving into and out of the arena has been considered were the 2015 robot “transport” dimensions, and the perennial statement that things need to be able to safely fit through the corridors and doors at your event.

When designing your driver station please keep in mind that there are other teams that are driving with you. When you make your driver station unstable, your alliance partners consider your design may fail at a critical time in the match. LRIs know that many laptops are deeper than 14 inches when open and we will evaluate your driver’s station accordingly. Please be advised that the field shelf is not designed to give you an unlimited size or weight for your driver’s station. There are several cases available that will house your driver’s station. We have a simply briefcase style that is light weight and fits our laptop. A Pelican case is great but may not be appropriate for a driver’s station.
UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, DAMAGE THAT MIGHT OCCUR IF/WHEN A TEAM’S STATION FALLS OFF THE SHELF IS STRICTLY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE TEAM. Give yourself a break and design something that will not come off the shelf when the field wall is struck by a robot.

So we can’t use a DGX-1 then?

Just give it a bit of training so it learns how to stay up there in a collision and you should be fine.:]

We were actually going to question the rules this year about how sentient an AI has to be before we can call it part of the drive team… Hoping to keep it free standing.

It is an item on the Inspection Checklist, so I would expect it to be checked at every event. It may just be checked by eye, but it should at least be looked at. Many teams use the same driver station year after year, so inspectors get familiar with them and can pass them even easier. And as many driver stations are built about the same size, it’s pretty easy to spot when one is pushing the limits and needs to be measured!

In general, don’t push the limits on the driver station size. Don’t build it too big or too heavy or extremely front heavy. Use the velcro on the shelf to help secure it. The last thing any of us want to see is your driver station flying off the shelf during autonomous and screwing up your entire match.

Hmm, let’s see, 3200W and 134 lbs? I think that’s just a bit over the recommended weight limit to “invite extra scrutiny” (30 lbs), and a bit more than the 2A power limit of the 120V outlet at the arena station.

I think I think, therefore I might be?