[FTC]: 128 Teams in 2013 FTC World Championship

FIRST has updated the World Championship page. http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/FTCWorldChampionship

They have held the line at 128 teams again. Being the Winning Alliance Captain no longer guarantees you an invitation. Only the Inspire Award winner gets a guaranteed invitation.

Actually, it kind of does.

Most Championship Tournaments also advance the Captain team from the Winning Alliance.

There are only so many championship tournaments, so if each one were to only send 1 Inspire Award winner, there would be less than 128 teams at the World Championships.

The operative word here is “guaranteed”. I agree that in most tournaments, the Winning Alliance Captain will be granted an invitation to the World Championships. That does not appear to be the case for “all” championship tournaments.

They’ve even updated the web site to reflect this.


Which teams will advance to the World Championship?
The Inspire Award winner from each Championship Tournament will receive an automatic invitation to the World Championship. ** Most** Championship Tournaments also advance the Captain team from the Winning Alliance.

Anyone else disagree with the fact that Inspire award winner > Winning alliance captain? It makes FTC less of a robotics competition and more of a beauty contest.

I disagree with fact that they are ever increasing the FRC portion at the expense of the other programs. FLL Partners are on a lottery system to determine if they are allowed to send zero or one team to the World Festival.

Look at the FTC Partner growth over the past year. We had 41 partners in the USA and 3 international (Canada, Mexico & Netherlands) in 2010. In 2011 we had 46 partners in the USA and 12 international. That’s 14 new partners in one year or a 31% increase. How many years growth will it take in FTC before the Inspire Award Winner is either the only invited team or they start a lottery system for the FTC World Festival.

In 2012 or 2013 FTC will have more teams than FRC. It depends on how they count the international teams that don’t get a number unless they qualify for the World Championships. Why does FRC have a 400 team Championship and we get FLL’d?

As much as I love FTC, I think it’s the fact that FRC is the flagship robotics program for FIRST. FIRST has put the most time into FRC than all of the other robotics programs, and FRC is the most likely to raise heads and “change the culture”, so to speak. I absolutely love FTC and FLL as well, and they do deserve a real championship. FRC though has so many people involved and recruits the best students, engineers, and generates the most public interest. It would make sense for it to be highlighted the most at an event with unanticipated media coverage. Just my 2 cents.

FRC recruits the “best” students? With our FRC team (and I’m hoping most FRC teams), they try recruiting anyone that is interested. They don’t just find the people with the highest grades and only asking them to join, or exclude people that are very interested but aren’t a straight A student. It’s not like they don’t let one of the “best” students join FTC because they are good. FTC requires a lot more commitment and time then FRC, but FRC does get a lot more media and sponsorship’s then FTC. In both competitions its about learning Engineering, teamwork, programming, GP ect, and having fun while you’re doing it. I’m guessing FTC’s Winning alliance captain will go in every competition because this year in Maryland, it went down to the 3rd place Inspire, so I think the Captain will go next year, that’s just my two cents.

By recruiting the “best” students, I meant more along the lines of the brightest. I’ve never really heard of FTC teams having tryouts, but in FRC it’s common, especially in states with 100+ teams, to have tryouts for FRC. I’m not about to turn this into an FTC vs FRC argument (Believe me, I had to resolve those way too much in my school), but about time commitment, it’s really about the same. FTC has a year round build season, but FRC doesn’t just have 6 weeks. A proper FRC team spends all year training, practicing, and prototyping. After 6 weeks of intense building, they need to spend every moment possible practicing driving on a practice bot and developing strategy. It’s about the same time commitment as FTC. That all being said, I can see why there are 400 FRC teams at championships. Do I think this is fair? Not really. I think we need more FTC teams. FTC is a great program that is accessible to most everyone in the world and is probably the best way for kids to get started in engineering. FRC is the largest vehicle for culture change, but isn’t the most accessible to students around the world.

Let’s look at this for a minute. Why is FRC the larger vehicle for culture change? Is it the size of the robots? Possibly, FRC started out 20 years ago with robots about the size of FTC robots. Is it the field size? Again FRC started out with a field about the size of FTC’s current field. Is it 2-on-2 vs. 3-on-3? I think these are all contributing factors, but not the key. I think action is the key. FRC matches tend to have a lot more movement and action. The technical aspects of the challenges are probably equivalent between FTC and FRC, but from a fan perspective, everything seems to move much slower in an FTC match. I think expanding the field to 16x16 and developing games that are more fan friendly, can quickly change perceptions.

Fans are the key to FIRST culture change. Just an estimate on my part, but 95% of people attending FIRST events are friends and family of the participants. The excitement hasn’t translated to school or community spirit that draws crowds on its own. Until FIRST can figure out how to get crowds to attend FIRST events the way they attend Sporting events, changing the culture is going to be an uphill battle.

Bigger motors, maybe. Bigger robots would destroy the benefit of the larger field. FTC robots need more room to maneuver. Besides at 3 fps, it would only take 5 seconds to cross the entire field. That’s faster than FRC.

Ok, our FRC team (1629 GaCO) has roughly 35-40 people from two schools (many of which are on FTC too), so its not a problem for them since we live in a small community. For our FTC teams how ever, we had 10 people on 2818 G-FORCE two year ago, so we made a 2nd team which now is close to maxed out, the way we have people join this year is we get a list of everyone who is interested in joining one of the teams, then during the summer we contact them for help with summer camps and community service. The ones that commit the most and help out the most gets first dibs. For us its not “who’s the brightest”, it’s who works the hardest. To me, if they show up to everything they say, then we don’t need to second guess if they will come to the practices and work hard while they are there. I think a hard worker is much more valuable to a team then a bright student (not saying they are invaluable, but for a productive team you need hard workers), but that’s just me.

I was waiting for the FTC community to bring up things like this.
It’s all completely true, and I’ll avoid repeating what has already been noted. The FRC program will never be undermined by the FTC program, and that’s an unfortunate fact. FIRST only meant for FTC to be a sort of bridge program into FRC, but obviously that isn’t so much the case in our minds, case in point I had friends on FRC teams standing in the queue looking at the FTC fields going “How on earth did they get those little robots to lift things that high?!?” It’s obvious there is an unexplored factor of FTC that most people haven’t noticed yet.
Take a look at the reasons WHY FTC is rapidly expanding faster than FRC, well I’ll give you my idea. THE COST. The FTC program is VASTLY cheaper to compete in and you still have all the versatility of an FRC robotics team. So why are we still the redheaded stepchild? I’m not sure, but when our numbers pass FRC’s things might change.

Team numbers are only one part of the equation. If that was the answer FLL wouldn’t be so poorly represented. The bigger part of the equation to getting FTC the representation it deserves lies with our sponsors. If the major FTC sponsors like Rockwell Collins and PTC step up and demand a change, that will carry a lot more weight than 2500 FTC team.