Interesting Top tier teams Human player station cycles

I have noticed that some of the best teams in the world like 179 and 4414, are running these cycles where the robots are driving past the single substation and then have the human player drop the game piece and they scoop it up on the way back. I have a few ideas of why they are doing this but wanted to see if anyone else had any ideas to why they are preferring these cycles as opposed to having the game piece waiting for them when they get there.

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That method can eliminate the need to rotate your robot twice per cycle (if you score and intake on the same side of the robot) and it gives the driver better vision on the game pieces when they are intaking.

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This may not apply as much to the top tier teams, but if a robot missed intaking a game piece and instead pushed it away, they would be pushing it towards their community as opposed to away from it.

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Lining up at the single station takes time and is generally a poor sight line for the driver. Floor loading looks harder to the audience, but might look easier from the driver station.

The amount of variety and strategy associated with the loading zone is one of my favorite parts of this game so far. Probably spent too much time last week watching some top teams load with a stop watch.

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I think another cool single substation usecase is what 118 does. Watch them play at magnolia; their HP is able to really fling the cone out pretty far onto the field.

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I believe part of why they are doing this cycle is so that they can drive through the game piece and the driver can see it the entire time. Visibility is important.

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It’s also worth mentioning that any misalignment error / timing error usually results in the cube going towards the target scoring grid, rather than into the (blind, terrible) corner of the Loading Zone.

Doing cycles into the corner is a nightmare, especially considering how low contrast the cubes are compared to a cone.

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While far from a top tier team, this is exactly what we are doing and it works well, at least for us. I believe this tactic drastically improved our cycle time over other robots actively intaking from the single station and even over most other teams grabbing from the double station. We would barely pause as the timing between our driver and human player got more consistent and efficient. Our robot was built specifically around ground pickup and be able to push a piece (mostly cubes but can do cones as well) along as we grab it. No hunt-and-peck pickup.

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