Good criticism! The project is meant to support efforts to uncover knowledge that, once uncovered, will better equip all teams. The project is not directly meant to help teams be competitive in the near term.
Some good examples from FRC history of things that have advanced the field, despite not immediately helping most teams play after lunch, include:
Chris Hibner’s “How to make sure your robot will turn” Ian MacKenzie’s Drive Train Kinematics
- Ether’s kinematic derivations of swerve and omnidirectional control theory
- 234’s drivetrain testing
- 2363’s measurement of the adder for exact c-c #25 chain spacing
It’s a good point that we should prioritize agenda items that have the potential to help most teams. This is the major reason to develop a research agenda: to create a forum where we can rank certain lines of inquiry above others. We hope to flesh out each item with a description of
- what the actual problem statement is
- why a solution is desired
- who it will benefit and how
- why it’s possible to solve now
An apparent focus on optimization might show our limited creativity in developing the research agenda so far. Or… (And I dont think this is the case) it might show that there’s generally less unsolved problems out there. The examples I gave above (from a landmark 2003 whitepaper to a 2018 CD post) shows a trend of narrowing scope and a shift of focus from theory to empirical measurement.