Driver Selection

I was wondering what methods other teams use to pick new drivers? And for this game, are you going to do anything to pick pilots?

I already gave an application and was thinking about doing a try-out. Any advice on applications or try-outs?

If our drivers are still on the team from last year, then they drive again if they want to. If not, we see who is interested, and give them stick time with the previous years robot in the pre-season. Whoever does the best in an obstacle course, gets to drive the robot.

Our team tries to keep the drive team as constant year by year.

This year our drive team will have 1 driver (3 years of experience), 1 Operator (2 years of experience), 1 coach (2 years of experience) and 1 pilot (2 years of experience).

We will be doing some sort of driver selection for our Human Player this year. Essentially we will be testing a lot of the physical requirements as well as weighing in maturity and dedication to the team. We will also be excluding people we need elsewhere IE (Scouting Leads).

So far we are having people from last year if they were on drive team, can choose to stay on drive team.

How 95 usually makes drivers selections:

-Time Commitment to Team, it is very important that they be able to attend (nearly) all driving practice sessions and put in the time needed to learn the robot
-Athletecism, these students are up to the physical demands of drive team participation with little or no drop in performance throughout the day, preferably varsity athletes because they are used to being under pressure
-Calm, drivers must remain clam, professional, and level-headed in the heat of competition, we go so far as to incorporate this in training and driving drills
-Chemistry, above all else it is important that the drive team have a good chemistry with each other, otherwise it will fall apart. I relate a funny (in hindsight) story of when I was a driver my senior year of HS and the mentors thought it was a good idea to make my ex-girlfriend the co-driver… that wasn’t the best drive team in the world.
-Focus, maturity, and time management are implicit requirements

To specifically answer OP’s question: tryouts, one-on-one conversations with students, and general observations of their behavior and interactions are how drivers are selected.

We first have a rules test that all applicants are required to take.
Followed by a drivers test. We have a different test for human players.
Finally we have all applicants interview with the coach and the team leadership committee.

Here is a link to a paper i posted here on Delphi about a year ago. Might be of use to you.

What do you do in drills to simulate how drivers must remain clam, professional, and level-headed in the heat of competition?

Good question.

I do two things. (1) Start slow, but push them faster and faster until they make mistakes and see how they react. Does a student say ‘I can’t do this, I give up’ or ‘let’s try this a different way, give me some time to practice.’ (2) Surprise/startle them during drills (take your pick on how you do this) to simulate things like robots or game pieces crashing into the driver station. We have done this type of training for the last two years and our drivers have commented on how well-prepared they felt on the field. FWIW our last two years have included 6x elimination appearances with 2x finalist medals and one banner, so they have gone through some high-pressure matches.

Thanks for the tip. I’m trying to make a training program from scratch to have done by Thursday. Is there any more tips for drills, training set up, or anything else along those lines?

P.S. That’s a funny story about your ex-girlfriend :yikes: I bet that went well

If you have two robots that you can drive at the same time then i would recommend have two potential drivers go against each other. Have one drive try to get his robot to touch one wall and have the other try to block him, or something like that. There is really nothing better than driving against a real person rather than a course.

The past few years we have just let the previous drivers continue driving. Our drive team last year were brand new to driving and they will probably all continue driving this year.

To select the hp and pilot, we will recommend that everyone that wants to be a hp starts practicing once we build field elements. Whoever we see puts in the work and practices on the field elements will most likely get the job.

For this I personally don’t even do drills, it’s more a matter of knowing the student personalities and how they normally act.

Simple obstacle courses are good to start with, especially those that require driving backwards or driving at yourself. These drills are great for driving the robot in a variety of orientations relative to the driver. We try to incorporate game elements into obstacle courses. In 2015 we asked the drivers to perform some combination of grabbing a can, driving around some obstacles, then scoring the can.

This is a great exercise. We place a game element in the middle of a driving area and have one robot try to touch it with the other robot blocking it. This is great for learning how to juke, roll, or otherwise break past another robot. For these drills we sometimes put a mentor on the defensive robot to push the difficulty up a notch (many of our mentors are experienced drivers). We’ve also done this drill with other teams.

To quote a part of my original post, so one facet isn’t taken out of context, we use “one-on-one conversations with students, and general observations of their behavior and interactions” as a significant part of the selection process. Exercising calmness during drills is used in conjunction with knowing their personalities.

4476 has drive practice sessions in the summer for keen students looking to learn to drive better. Having it in the summer already weeds out the lower commitment members, so in general commitment from these students aren’t that big of a deal. During the summer I teach them the ins and outs of a bunch of concepts, good defense, and the different tactics to evade/play better defense, which ones have higher priority on the field. We try all combinations of driver/operator, and note who works best with who. Chemistry, commitment, maturity, and stress are 95% of what we look in a driver.

Understanding maturity is just getting to know the person. Do they show up to meetings on time? When they are assigned tasks do they follow through? When they fail how do they react? Come up with strategies to get better? Ignore the problem? Shut down and give up? Put them in stressful situations by timing drills and making it competitive with other combinations of drivers. Whoever gets a better time is winning. Graph the times, keep track of best and worst performance. Get them to understand why their good performances were good and their bad performances were bad.

**Using this literally took our 2015 driver from not being able to drive in a straight line to save his life to being somewhere around top 25% over the course of 40ish hours of drive meeting time, and probably 20 hours of drive time with an old robot.
It’s not hard to teach skill to students who are motivated and have the other requirements.

We don’t do rules tests, to me that’s teaching to the test. Since we decide so early, generally the super committed understand the rules anyways. Since you are much later than our system, depending on the number of interested people it could be useful in narrowing down the field. If you find a committed, mature, dealing with stress easily, and a good chemistry drive team anyways, I would bet large sums of money that those individuals would have no problem investing the time to understanding the rules 100%

Hope that helps!

I second this

Karthik actually put on a Google Hangouts a while back explaining what he and 114 do for choosing a drive team: