Driveteam can't hear announcers at championship

Speaking on behalf of my drive team here:

At worlds, drive team noticed that they literally couldn’t hear the announcers say, “Drivers, behind the lines…” or any other match indicators (endgame sound, end of auton buzzer, etc), which would have improved gameplay. They had to watch the announcer’s mouths at the start of a match to know when to get ready. The lights in front of the driver stations were helpful during the match, but it was still jarring when the robot would just start moving without any indication that the match was beginning (especially after long waits or FTA visits).

Has anybody else had an issue with this?


I have been messed up by this, especially as a pilot in 2017. (Even the GA got messed up by the adjacent field sounds being louder…)

Bugging several people, the response I got was indifference and “look at the match clock”.

I was on drive team through division eliminations for 4 years as a student and could still barely adjust to it, everything about that experience is infuriating.


One of our first quals, I didn’t hear it at first, so then I realized I had to listen super closely for the countdown. It doesn’t help that the speakers were pointing towards the stands with none pointing towards the fields.

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As a former driver, i can also attest i could never remember that there’s a clock down the field. It’s not even the fact that i need to stare at the robot 100% of the time. I’ve done quick glances here and there (and practiced this for 2020 :sob:) but during the match, the idea that there’s a clock just disappears.

I can usually hear the GA and my codriver/drive coach simultaneously though.

Never drove at an event with multiple fields (like champs) so cant say if i’d be distracted by the other GA/their buzzers

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It might just be me but I as a former driver always looked at the clock during auto to make sure I got on the controls as soon as possible, especially for no sound plays which I do remember happening once. Past auto however, I rarely payed attention to it.

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We also definitely had matches starting suddenly without hearing anything

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There were speakers for the fields on the same truss as the main stands speakers, but they were aimed more for center field than for the drive teams. The driver’s station wall blocks a lot of sound. A better speaker placement for the drivers to hear would be down at field level behind the driver’s station wall.


I operated 2018, drove in 2019. We manual auto’d in 2019, so it didn’t really affect me. But in 2018, we would watch where our robot stopped, and talk about what to do in the first 5 seconds of teleop. Hear the buzz, step right up.

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It was pretty hard to hear, at least on Daly. I ended up watching for the emcee to count down with their fingers to see when the match was starting.
With having 3 seconds between auto and teleop this season we could afford to wait a second and make sure auto was actually over(usually looked at our robots RSL to verify) and then step forward.

I know that last year our driver got confused from a nearby field and accidentally touched a controller during auto.
We got a yellow card from it and made sure not to do it this year

I usually look at the robot, bc I am programmer and I want to see what auto does. So once it stops moving and rsl is solid you can move forward.

Gamepad style controllers can have vibration. Maybe set it to vibrate for 1 second when teleop is enabled?

I dont know if rules have changed now, but i wouldnt have risked stepping over the line just because RSL is solid. I usually waited until the bells; i’ve seen other drive teams step over as early as the buzzer.

Whenever I coached, I’d give a live countdown of the last 3-5 seconds of auto. At the 1 second mark, the drivers should be watching the field clock if they can. As soon as it hits zero they can step forward (unless something changed since like 2020?), so at that mark, the coach should make some sort of audible signal (such as “Go!”) and ideally the drivers won’t even need that to know it’s time to grab controls. The buzzer shouldn’t need to be a part of it.

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At times on Johnson field, I felt like I was hearing more from Hopper and Milstein.


There was a qual match on Johnson where we thought the match was starting and were panicking because we were not behind the line. Quickly realized we were just hearing another field.


I was on Milstien, I could only hear Johnson the whole time. I also didn’t know when auto was starting until the robots moved

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At least during alliance selection, I couldn’t hear a half of the choices and had to look at the stands to see which team was cheering.


On Daly, more on red than blue, pretty much didn’t know when a match was going to start other than looking at the FTA/HR for the thumbs up. Couldn’t hear anything that had to do with our field.

This is an issue every year. YOU MUST PAY CLOSE ATTENTION. It is not the fault of the field or staff that you can’t hear them. There are other ways of knowing that you should be behind the lines (Watch the FTA/Head ref). Keep an eye on the time clock during auto too. I got ripped to shreds by my drive coach the ONE time I crosses the line in a practice match at MSC in 2018, which to be fair, it tricked him too.

I don’t know why FIRST doesn’t just incorporate speakers into the drive stations. I don’t think it would be that hard but Its also possible that FMS just cant handle that or something. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a loud countdown and the buzzer sounds.

It wouldn’t even go through FMS at all. They just need some stage monitors under the shelf using the main audio feed.