Driver Selection

How does YOUR team select a driver? Is it dependent on driving skill, senority, how many hours. etc. :smiley: Please post

our team uses several devices to pick drivers…listed below:
time trials
ability to work under pressure
ability to work as a team player

each of these items are evaluated for each individual interested in diring either our arm or the robot itself.

team 177 did it based on many things. First, a quiz was issued to anyone who wanted to try out to be a driver, and this quiz was based on rules of the game. They also asked us a strategy question and a question on what we thought a driver’s responsibility was. Next, we were also looked at for our commitment to the team and how many hours we’ve spent at robotics over the course of the build period. Then, we were given opportunities to practice driving the base and the arm. We did obstacle courses and had to complete tasks using robots from past years.

Once this phase was completed, 4 people were selected to continue on to the next phase. From there, we saw who worked well together, and who was good at communicating. Not only did we look at that, but we also looked at how well we were able to complete the tasks. Then we had a mentor come in who was a driver about 8 years ago, and he made a decision as to who should be driving with no bias opinions. Now he is one of our coaches, and is an awesome mentor.

Overall, i think this process worked really well. I mean, we did win the scrimmage, right? :smiley:

I don’t think driver selection has to be such a big deal. With our team, we asked who wanted to be a driver at the end of last season, tried these people out at off-season competitions, and then me and liz just kinda became the drivers, mainly because we’re dedicated and we work well together.

My team let the only senior drive the arm and I get to drive the base again because I am the only one who has driven during a competition. There is a co-driver that will be driving during some of the practice rounds, giving him some experience for next year.

At our scrim and at meetings we’ve played around with letting everyone try out a different thing, I think we had like 4 people drive our robot in DC, and probably 4 or 5 doing the arm. And based off of that, we’ve will choose who will drive at VCU, and who will operate our arm

There’s several other threads covering this topic.
This is a good one.

It was started in early 2004, but still has good content applicable to any year.

we usually base it on the same things every year…
who has done the most work on the bot, who can drive the best, and a little seniority, but it depends if the seniors have done work on the robot and that they have been part of the team for a while

Generally, as time passes and the old driving crews graduate, new ones form and move up in the ranks and get more time driving. This is not to say that no one else has a chance though, if you can keep yourself calm in a match, drive well, communicate well with the others in the booth, and perform well in high-stress matches like finals, then you by all means will probably have a chance to drive in matches. Sometimes people get shifted around in the booth and someone new becomes a driver mid-competition season. I kinda wish we had more driver practice, so you can pick up on the little things that only you know from driving a lot.

our team still hasnt selected the driver yet so Im not really sure how they are going to select, probably by the skill.

When you guys pick drivers do you expect them to hold back in a match? Do you expect your drivers to protect the robot or to win at all costs(within reason)? What I am asking is do you pick someone who is aggressive or someone who protects the robot?

GO 1403!!!

How about, someone who follows the strategic decisions embodied in the robot? We chose not to make a killer drive train. We knew how, we just decided not to. We decided to make a fairly low-reach capper, because our evaluation of the game was that it wasn’t necessary to reach 12 feet, and that it takes time and generates risk being up that high. We also decided to ignore tetras on the ground. We also wanted speed and agility, since we aren’t going to even try to win pushing matches. And lastly, we wanted a reliable robot that wouldn’t break down.

A driver that uses 100% of our robot’s abilities within the envelope of the design parameters is our goal. For example, it turns out that we can lift tetras off the ground, but, for us, it’s not the fastest way to load. Our drivers should never attempt it during a match.

Oh, and yes, part of our stated goal is to not break the 'bot. Half of winning is showing up.

Our real problem is that we have about six people who have the skills to make good drivers and game system operators. I don’t think we know how the choice is going to be made, except that I still haven’t even gotten to drive in practice.

Sure, let the mentor spend 120+ hours helping build it, but never even let him drive it. See if he ever brings Doritos or Airheads to a build session again… :mad:

At 525 we pick drivers based on experiance/time spent working on the robot. THis year we ended up with the same drivers on the same things (arm/base) as last year. This helps experiance wise…I think a lot of people think it’s easier than it is. Also, our drivers are the people who’ve spent the most time there. It ends up happening that way when the robots being completed and drive time is availiable…whoever’s there will tend to be the ones up for the spots.

I think this issue can be resolved by being concious of what’s happening in the game/having drivers who really know the robot and have worked on it. If you know what’s happening…you’ll know if you need/don’t need to push your capabilities, and with a driveteam that spent considerable time building the robot they’ll know the capabilities far better than anyone else. The people who have done the majority of work on it are far less likely to stupidly push the robot past where it should be.

Well, are you playing the game or playing with the robot? You know why some teams pick drivers based on the hours they put into the build season? Because they know the robot and its boundaries. Corey and I know our robot inside out, at least the parts we need to. For e.g. our arm last year, that thing was a complicated beast. After burning the speed controller once, I knew it was programmed to send full speed pulses to the victors and since the motors weren’t moving(force holding it back), they burned out. Knowledge about the robot helps. It’s also called Maturity. Why would you want to break your robot and then win a match? At the same time, you want drivers who are not totally afraid of trying new things. Search back on posts by Karthik and other great mentors in FIRST. They have said enough about driver selections.

What I described until now is the robot aspect. The other aspect the drivers need to understand is how to interpret rules and strategy. This years game especially involves a whole lot of strategy. You want drivers who know what they’re doing, the penalties, the goals, the alliance picking system. They need to be good scouts on their own. You don’t want drivers who play with the robot, you want drivers who play the game within the realms of gracious professionalism and of course without damaging(at least severely, but you need to give some work to your pit crew too) your robot. Let me tell you something - Winning competitions come with experience. You can have the best robot in FIRST and still lose every single match of a competition if you don’t know how to play the game. It takes a while to get used to the controls, the field in general, the behavior of alliances and opponents.

To conclude, FIRST is a very involving project just like any other sport. Pick drivers who are smart, mature and particularly those who really exercise common sense.

Good luck,

Our team uses a series of tests to determine who is going to be on the main drive team. There is also a back-up drive team. The tests are ability tests. Performance under pressure is also a major factor along with teamwork. I am, for the 4th year in a row, the back-up team driver.

Each driver must take a written test, which I took more seriously than the SAT’s. The two guys who made up the test were so mean that they put in questions like which of the following is an incorrect example of inappropriate robot actions. I guess it’s to make sure you have good logic skillz. AND the questions each had 5 choices, but there were up to 5 correct answers or none are correct. That test drove me nuts.

Then came the fun part, actual driving. We ran an obstical course completing various tasks like “knock that that pvc pipe on the ground” or “park it like a jeep in the end zone.” Our performance was then evaulated and scored. The two pairs of drive and controller with the highest scores got the nod to control our baby this year.

One of our goals is to make it to the next level, so our driver (I think it’ll be myself and a friend on the team switching) we’ll drive fairly reserved as to not tear the robot to shreads before Nat’s. But if the game gets dirty… well you just kinda have to take some chances :wink:

we have driver testing where we set up a obstical course and who ever hits the least amount of stuff … and or… who ever has the fastest time gets it…BUT you have to be a team player you cant be like arguing with everyone all the time.


Our team, 1111, has made a decision on its drive team well in advance. Originally we developed a list of who wanted to drive on our team. This list was strikingly short, but we made use of those who enlisted themselves simply because of their apparent self-confidence.

At the robot scrimmages in the National Building Museum our new team members got a chance to try maneuvering the robot. Impressing our team mentors, they became part of the primary drive team for our debut at the Chesapeake Regional. The much more experienced drivers consist of a sophomore and a senior, who will be in charge of both driving and operating at different times at the regional.

We have made an early decision to have a student coach trained also. Unless all other coaches on our alliance are either both students or both mentors, our coach remains a student. We find this approach best following the spirit of FIRST and would benefit more as a team in doing such.