Driver Challenge at Champs?

As a driver for the past four years, I’ve gotten a chance to meet, work with, and get beat by a lot of really fantastic teams and drivers from all over the world.

However, I always wondered what would happen if you took all the drivers at Champs and put them on an even playing field. Somewhere where the resources or experience level of the team don’t matter, it’s just the skill of the driver.

It would be like how some teams do tryouts for their drive team, except with everyone at championships. Just a kit bot with the ability to switch back and forth between arcade and tank, along with an obstacle course with a few challenges built in. Let anyone drive the obstacle course and record their times.

While I’m not positive this would ever actually happen at Champs, I wanted to hear what you guys think of the idea. Would this be something cool to have at Champs? Who do you think would come out on top?

This is an awesome concept! However even really good drivers take a few dozen hours of practice before they can master a new robot. Even slight differences in weight distribution, acceleration, programing can result in very different robots. Even though you put everyone on an even playing field my point is the real driver skill is to learn and adapt to the specifics of the machine.

I agree with this. It is an awesome concept, but giving drivers new robots is sort of like giving them something they’re not used to. They’ll take time to figure it out.

While I think it would be fun, I do think there are other things that make a good driver other than just maneuvering the robot. One aspect is to consider that all good drivers also have to have a good co-driver and coach. The communication between these is also what make a driver look good. The work between these rolls is what makes a good drive team and is not always just the skill of the person on one joystick. You can have a good driver, but if he ignores his coach telling him where to be on the field, the driver does not appear to be good because he is not in the right places at the right times. Just my opinion but I would definitely like to watch if they did.

I agree with you guys, it would definitely put the driver in a different situation than what they would see on the field. Without your co-driver or coach things would be very different, and with a different robot you’re in a whole new ballpark. Maybe it would be more of a skills test (and only a certain group of skills at that) rather than “who’s the best driver”. I would still be interested to see how it went and who would get the shortest times.

It could be used by teams hoping to find a new driver for future seasons. Test team members using a simple kitbot chassis and see who places highest amongst other teams.

If you find enough space at champs to have full sized FRC robots driving an obstacle course I’d love to open it up to the public. Let those who have never driven a robot before (both on teams and the general public) see what it’s like. Could enhance the “fan” experience for the event.

If we move to smaller divisions next year drivers may not have as much time between matches.

The final plans will likely include between 6 and 8 Divisions, and team counts between the mid 500’s and 600…

I am pretty sure these drivers at champs are quick learners and will adapt to new robot and how it reacts. If rules are brand new rules…then that will add complexity, best driver and good memory will prevail.

Just something to think about, the best drivers in this world are not rocket scientists, some of them are not even high school grads. The driving skills are primarily depend on a persons motor skills…these are developed from early age.

Being a driver this year and having talked to many others, and having competed within my team to drive, I believe that there is so much more to being a driver than being able to drive an obstacle course. It took me half of a competition to get “good” at driving our robot. A driver must be able to think on his feet and be able to adjust to the situation or if something goes wrong. My coach trusted me alot this season and didn’t give me much help. (This was because she was going to tell other teams what to do) Overall this worked well and we did pretty good.
Going back to what someone else said about using a kit bot and putting the best drivers on it to see who is best, is a flawed idea. First most drivers that are ver good have huge amounts of driving on their robots before competition. Then they also drive in many competitions, and over the course of many years. Think of it like this, your could take the driver from 254 and then the driver from 16 and switch the robots for each. Neither driver would do well, because one may have never driven a swerve drive, and one not driven a WCD.

One idea that I would like to see at championships is a robot driving test. This could be open to drivers who want to drive different drive trains and test other robots, as well as spectators if teams allowed. For example many top teams have two robots. Several of those teams could bring those to championships and let people drive them around. It would allow other drivers to test their skills on a different robot, as well as see what they like, and let their teams look into new designs. It would also make it fun for spectators, because they could drive and look at closely the robots that they just saw on the field.

I’d be interested in something like this. In my 2 years driving we’ve only used tank/arcade drives but I always wanted to try swerve or WCD.
And really you wouldn’t even need teams to donate their extra bots. I mean, AndyMark or VEX could use it as a sort of showcase of their products.