Intentionally blocking traffic in Hybrid

After just seeing 1114 and 1024’s amazing hybrid modes illegally impeded, i have to post this.


If you are going to call high speed ramming in hybrid, at least be consistent and call it when teams make their hybrid drive 3 feet forward to blatantly impede in hybrid.

I’ve seen 1114 lose multiple matches because impeding was allowed. Even with the 10 point penalty assessed, it is cheap; 1024 and 1114 could’ve easily scored another 12-20 points in hybrid there.

I believe an update allows impeding in hybrid mode.

Okay, based on update 2 and 5, I see that no mention of impeding exists in hybrid mode.

Still, I don’t like that high speed ramming is called, when it is clearly an unintentional act, and impeding is. Also, I will be very upset to see any team get called for ramming in hybrid after they hit a robot that drove 3 feet to impede traffic in hybrid (that would not be illegal, as the 3 foot drive is attempting to get hit, and you can’t draw penalties). It’s a shady strategy overall.

I understand it is legal per the rules now, I’m just venting.

The rules used to prohibit impeding all the time, but were changed in team update 2.

Rule <G40>
IMPEDING Traffic –ROBOTS shall not intentionally IMPEDE the flow of traffic
around the TRACK. During the Teleoperated Period, a ROBOT will be considered
to be IMPEDING traffic if it is preventing an opposing ROBOT from proceeding
around the TRACK. A ROBOT can be found to be IMPEDING traffic if:
 the ROBOT is traveling slowly relative to the approaching ROBOT, and
moving to prevent the approaching ROBOT from passing, or
 the ROBOT is stopped on the TRACK and there is no clear lane of passage
for the opposing ROBOT, or
 the ROBOT pins an opposing ROBOT against an arena element, border, or
another ROBOT
Note that a ROBOT is not IMPEDING traffic if:
 there is a clear “passing lane” around the ROBOT, or
 the IMPEDING ROBOT and the approaching ROBOT are from the same
ALLIANCE (i.e. a ROBOT can not impede another ROBOT of the same
 the ROBOT is in the process of HURDLING (except as noted in Rule

I think one difference is that high speed ramming can cause damage to the other robots, while impeding doesn’t (unless the other robot is going to fast and cannot stop). I actually like the strategy of having a defensive autonomous. I don’t think they are attempting to draw ramming penalties, because that would be wrong.

I think it sucks. You aren’t allowed to intentionally impede anyone during teleoperated mode, so why should you be able to in hybrid?

And that it is kind of hard to require that all teams make their robot able to respond to bumps to pass autonomously, which is the reason why the rules are like they are, I imagine.

Teams that have high-speed hybrid modes that can get far enough to be impeded likely also have the talent to have a ‘stop’ command that they can give in hybrid. If you see your team is going to ram another, it’s your job to stop it, not their job to get out of the way.

And getting penalties for high-speed in autonomous isn’t new. Back in 2006 when drive-straight blocking was all the rage, teams that were deemed too fast would get stern talks from the refs.

But what if your IR isnt strong enough? you get a penalty because your remote isnt as good as the next teams? and crossing the line to hit the estop is a penalty too. So what gives? you get a penalty just for trying to NOT get a penalty.

There are many solutions:
Slow down as you enter their zone, or use a different technology than IR, or have a command that says “warning: the opposing team is blocking us, slow down when you enter their zone”, and give it as soon as you see that the opposing team is trying to impede you. You don’t have to give a real-time command to stop.

Actually, aren’t the robo-coach stations for your alliance located at both ends of your home zone? That means as you enter the most likely area for impediment entering the opposing home-zone, your robocoach is just feet away.

I don’t think there’s been a year where high-speed in autonomous has been A-OK. If you’re going to go fast, there had better be some form of safety for other teams, whether it is a robocoach stop command, not going fast when you’re likely to encounter others, or active detection like ultrasound or cameras. The alternative amounts to: “I want 120lbs of metal to go as fast as possible in hybrid, and if another team gets damaged by that, it’s not my fault: it’s hybrid mode”

I think this is a poor comparison, because as you said, the intent was clearly for these teams to ram another team to mess up their autonomous program.

1114 in specific was yellow carded for ramming an opponent. Their autonomous is clearly not designed to hit other teams to interfere with them. It;s designed to go around the field and score points. This is a crucial difference.

I guess my response to that was what I edited in just as you posted: the intent may be to have a successful autonomous mode and not to hurt anyone, but to have 120lbs of metal moving as fast as it can without trying (or rather: to have a game where there is no incentive) to reduce the amount of damage it’d do to things in its path can be seen as a bit reckless. There needs to be some pressure on teams to reduce speeds when they might encounter opponents (like when they enter the opposing team’s home zone where impeding teams are likely to be).

Yesterday morning at the drivers meeting here in Portland, the question came up. The head ref said impeding was illegal during hybrid, intentional or not. However, I have never seen them call it, though I have seen them call ramming, even though it was unintentional.

how about this: you are not allowed to intentionally impeed robots in your home zone, so basically you are not allowed in that zone to drive 3 feet and stop, but otherwise its allright. Because if there isn’t going to be rule change here, its going to become common place for teams to drive 3 feet to stop the good hybrid bots.

Regardless of the ramming team’s intent, high-speed ramming penalties exist to protect the other robots from damage.

<G37> (as follows) would disagree to an extent:

a. High speed accidental collisions are likely to occur during the MATCH, and are an expected part of the game. However, high-speed intentional (emphasis mine) ramming is not acceptable and will be penalized.

It says quite clearly in no fewer than 4 places throughout G37 that robots must be designed to withstand high speed collisions as this is a high speed game.

It seems to me the entire point of G37 is to keep robots as it says, from pursuing strategies involving intentional damage or destruction of opposing robots. It clearly makes reference to accidental collisions at high speed being expected, and the necessity for teams to make robust robots due to such high speed interaction.

The only mention of handing out a penalty for high speed ramming is when the offending team intentionally does so. I will admit that intent is nearly impossible to judge normally, but I think during hybrid intent is quite clear.

For example, a robot with an excellent hybrid mode who nearly always crosses 3-4 lines is not going to collide with a team on purpose. That would be totally counterproductive towards their own scoring. Therefore if they collide with another team, I would assume it was incidental.

My concern lies almost exclusively with teams who have the intent to block the lane in their own home zone.

I guarantee that with certain teams very effectively shutting down all traffic in their home zone by parking 3’ out in front of the lane divider, this will become a prominent strategy by many teams who have weak hybrid modes.

If this becomes common, sooner or later some team with a good, fast hybrid mode (such as 1114, or 1024, or others that we saw this weekend) is going to collide with the blocking team at high speed.

Is the team who is trying to score points in hybrid by effectively completing the task at hand going to be penalized for ramming a team that quite clearly intended to do nothing more productive than ruining the hybrid routines for the other alliance? If so, I will be extremely unhappy.

As long as the GDC wants to let teams impede others in hybrid (which seems to be what update 2 and 5 are saying), it seems entirely unfair to punish a team which may collide with them.

We thought about using this strategy in some of our matches but did not have the opportunity. I see this being addressed in the next update

How do you think will be addressed? Can’t a robot that has no autonomous and just sits there be guilty of impeding? Or a robot that just decieds to cross the first line and stops?

Unintentional impeding is allowed, however intentional impeding is not allowed in hybrid mode from the Q&A.

I was at the midwest regional today, and it was obvious that robots moved forward to block 1024’s amazing autonomous modes. The refs never called a penalty. It is not like this happened just once, teams were doing it to them all day.

I will not name names. Anyone who watches the matches will see quite a few teams, and a very low number team in particular who should know better, blocking in quite a few hybrid modes.

I’ll say it again. These teams should know better. I will have our drivers bring it up to the Wayne State folks during the drivers meeting, and they will be ready to talk the refs after EVERY match that they see this strategy in.

Hybrid mode is something that is very difficult to do, and good ones should be celebrated. Not stopped by a clearly illegal tactic.