Herding Rules in Autonomous

Can you intentionally move a cube out of your way to get to the switch fence/wall in auto mode while in possession of a cube? Would that be considered herding or possessing more than one cube at a time?

G22 has no distinction between the game periods - you are only allowed to control one cube at all times. Now, whether the refs will interpret this scenario as herding or bulldozing… That I have no idea on. Herding would be illegal, bulldozing would not.

I can see the situation being ruled on either herding or plowing cubes (from the blue box in G22), but the final ruling will be whatever your event’s head ref says.

Edit: sniped by Jon


bulldozing” (**inadvertent contact **with POWER CUBES while in the path of the ROBOT moving about the FIELD)

“herding” (intentionally pushing a POWER CUBE to a desired location or direction)

So of the two in OP scenario the word “intentionally” was used which rules out bulldozing

The other definition of plowing could apply as well

“plowing” (brief contact with a large quantity of POWER CUBES while attempting to break up a pile, or gain access to an area of the FIELD. Sustained contact or** contact after the brief plowing action will be subject to “herding”**)

So it depends on how its seen and implemented IMO

If in possession with a cube and moving another cube intentionally to a desired location/direction…it would seem herding would apply according to the herding definition the way I read it personally.

Thats what I thought, just wanted some clarification for my programmer who keeps trying to lawyer the rules…

Historical precedent: Penalties have been called in previous years for similar rules.

Here is my practical opinion from 15 years of experience.

(1) Largely, I think during match play if your robot pushes a cube while holding one, it will be forgiven.
(2) If you push the cube into the vault while holding a second cube, that would most certainly be a penalty, even if unintentional.
(3) If you plow cubes out of the way in autonomous to get to the switch, gray area because you are intentionally moving multiple cubes at a time (by programming it), but could be considered “plowing” according to post above.

In the case of (3) though, a similar situation frequently arose last year when a gear would fall below a peg (although not in autonomous). Robots would spin to move the gear out of the way to score the one they were holding. That was clearly manipulation of two gears and never got called (from what I saw). Edit: I guess this falls under the definition of “plowing” above.

Aside from attempting Bacon’s 6 cube auto, I think it will be really hard for a team to get called for multiple cube possession in auto. Moving cubes away so you can score seems entirely within the definition of plowing like others said, which is legal.

Theoretically if your goal is to get from point A to point B and you push multiple cubes out of the way, that is bulldozing. If there is a strategical reason to move the cubes to another place, that is herding. Will the referees be able to tell the difference? I can’t answer that. It a good question for the event driver’s meeting.

Unfortunately I think this is going to be inconsistent event to event and may evolve over the competition season.

My prediction is (pauses to buff up the crystal ball):

Early on in the season, and especially is the cubes you hit end up in random, and non useful positions, it will get judged as bulldozing or plowing (depending on number of cubes you contact). If it happens repeatedly (ie resulting from auto), and the cube consistently end up in beneficial positions, I think you will get called for herding. The chances of drawing a G22 foul go up if you successfully use a contacted cube in auto.

As the season progresses, you will get cut less slack for G22, such that second cube contact that you initiate in auto (when the field is in a predictable state) will tend to called as herding.

The safe auto plan is to avoid initiating contact with the preplaced cubes while you still have your preloaded cube. It is tough to argue that contact was inadvertent (the requirement for bulldozing) if your programmed auto path takes you along the backside of your switch with the 6 preplaced cubes.

Random stuff that happen in auto (other robots hitting you with launched cubes, cubes falling off the scale, cubes getting dropped in your auto path) will continue to be called under the “not control” side of G22.