How important is testing your robot on official carpet?

1477 has a full field with the official carpet but it is in slight disrepair. We may be in a solution where school bureaucracy will force us to use the regular floor carpet. In my experience and from what I have read running on the official carpet is very important, especially in auto. Before we got a dedicated field we always rolled an official carpet into the hall.

Are there any teams that don’t run on the official carpet? Is it a problem?

Not having money isn’t a problem, not being able to repurpose isn’t a problem, the school may just make us use the room’s carpet.

3256 has been using our regular, classroom carpet for years now without any issues. YMMV, but we had the 4th highest auto OPR at the Monterey Bay Regional last season running a 5 ball auto routine, and never had issues with auto accuracy that we believed were connected to our carpet. In general, what I have found is that differences in carpet weave won’t significantly affect auto accuracy until you begin to do more complicated, back-and-forth autos (eg. 4 cube autos in 2018, or 2 game piece autos in 2019).

We have purchased some official carpet that we will be using instead this season, but this is to protect our flooring now that we have transitioned to using swerve. Especially now that teams can use full-field localization with AprilTags to support more complicated autos instead of relying on odometry, testing your robot on the official carpet isn’t that important. I would also consider how much the offical carpet (Neyland III) costs for you locally, and what else you could buy with that much money.

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There are certainly teams that never see official carpet until their first event. I know of many teams that will practice on generic carpet (like school carpet) for most of build season, and then go to a practice field or nearby team with carpet for a few hours/days before their events and tune auto, etc.

As with most things in FRC, having the material isn’t strictly required, and it won’t automatically make you better, but having access to the right stuff will raise the ceiling. You can only simulate competition conditions so closely. Official carpet will help you get closer, but you should consider if that will be a limiting factor for your team given your other constraints, strengths, and challenges. I’d argue that many teams are totally fine without the official carpet.

I’m not sure I understand what the problem is, if it’s neither the cost nor the waste. Are you saying that your school is saying “go ahead and buy the carpet but don’t use it?” because if so, I’m lost…

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My understanding after reading OP’s post, I think, is that the school is telling them (for whatever reason) that they cant buy new carpet, and that they are instead to just use whatever carpet is already in the room. Im interpreting OP asking if official carpet is crucial, to be, should they be fighting administration on this because it’ll make/break their season (is this the metaphorical hill they want to die on).

@Jus could you clarify a little?

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This is accurate. Sorry for not being clearer.

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Have they provided you any rationale? I understood this point as you said it in your original post. I’m not understanding what business the school has telling you not to buy the carpet, if you’re saying funding isn’t an issue. Is it storage? Something else?

As mentioned in my previous post, I don’t think a carpet is essential. But if you can have one, it’s nice to have, so trying to understand why.

HAH! That’s an easy one to deal with.

“So, Mr. Administrator. We understand that we are to run on the carpet in this room. Here is some evidence of what will happen to that carpet.” Cue slideshow of pictures of damage to field carpet. “We want to be good stewards of school resources. We trust that our obtaining some section of field carpet–probably previously used–and using it to practice on will be preferred to needing to replace the carpet in this room on a regular basis, yes?”

And trust me. It gets SHREDDED. Anybody got pictures of how beat up the carpet gets?

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Gonna ask a stupid question…

Does “the school” (principal, facilities manager, and likely a district-level contact, the “and” is important) all understand that you want to buy a roll of carpet to roll out over and protect the permanently installed carpet, or do they understand that you want to replace the permanently installed carpet with permanently installed Neyland III official game carpet? Or do they understand something else?

I’m not asking what you’ve told them, I’m asking what they all understand.

(Also, don’t die on this hill. You’ll be fine without “real” field carpet.)

But I suspect there’s a communication issue somewhere that’s worth resolving and root-causing, so that when something more important comes up you’re in a better place with your admin.

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Thank you to those who are trying to help with getting a new carpet, however other people like mentors and upper leadership seem to have it under control, I don’t really know much of what’s going on.

I am just asking out of curiosity about the benefits to use an official carpet.

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I’m not aware. I’m not in the loop. I just wanna know about carpet LOL.

If your floor is uneven…


This is absolute worst case scenario under extremely abusive conditions but it still happens to a smaller extent on a regular basis.

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Here’s a picture of a section of carpet from B3 for the OP (along with a decapitated NEO housing)

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So, the answer to this depends on a how accurate your odometry needs to be for your auto routine to be successful. In 2022, many teams were able to accurately shoot regardless of the accuracy of their odometry by using their vision system rather than dead reckoning to determine how to aim their shot. Therefore, it was easy to develop an auto routine that would drive past where the balls were placed and not need their odomoetry to be all that accurate in order to collect the game pieces.

If you use your vision system to locate game pieces and/or locate yourself on the field rather than using dead reckoning to navigate, then the type of carpet that you use when developing the auto routine will not matter.

So, as vision systems get better and teams get better at using them to navigate, practicing on the official carpet get less important and may not be a factor at all.

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The chances that you are one of the teams that a change in carpet will affect is pretty small. Realistically, the competition carpet almost always has small folds or defects in it anyway. Making a robust auto that can handle those defects is far more beneficial than making an auto that only works when the carpet is perfect. Put gaffers tape on your carpet to clean it up. Cut loose fibers and keep it from pulling up, and just run with it.

It could be a fire code issue. We weren’t allowed to store our field carpet indoors per the fire inspector for our school.

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I don’t think it’s that important. There are slight inconsistencies in carpets and fields across competitions as is and that’s just as likely to throw off your auto if you’re relying on encoder positioning.

Thank you for the insight. From what I’m hearing it isn’t as big of a problem as some people make it out to be.

We’ve been doing pose estimation w/ April Tags for a long time so it shouldn’t be a big deal for our autos.

I guess the biggest problem would be tearing up a carpet that is part of the lab.

Here is what our carpet looks like with our robot running auto over it:

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Can Confirm. Wheel marks have begun showing on the side with the school carpet, but they are not too noticeable yet. I also think we might see the carpet stretch or something but I am no carpet expert. Not sure how serious it will become though, as we, or the other team we share the lab with have driven heavily on it yet.

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