It's 2019 - Why are we still shouting ROBOT?

The problem is that a polite “excuse me” can become as obnoxious as “robot”.
Some of the regionals try to squeeze many pit areas in a small area. The result is the the corridors become very narrow - making it very difficult for two transporters to pass each other (without the extra human traffic).
The corridors must be widened. FIRST encourages the general public to tour the pit areas - which is wonderful. People need to see members working on the robots. However, the pit area must be expanded to accommodate the additional foot traffic.


I think a cow catcher, on the front of the robot cart, would be effective and less deadly :laughing:


Can it though? I’ve never heard a domino of “EXCUSE ME” being shouted around the pits after the initial person says it.


True, I’ve never heard a domino “excuse me”, but I’ve heard “excuse me” rudely shouted. For me, it’s the obnoxious tone of what is being said and not the words themselves. The domino effect is like applauding when someone drops something in a cafeteria. It’s part of the teen culture.
The echoing or repetition of “robot” lets everyone know that a robot is in motion. With the crowded pit areas, we need something uniform to allow everyone know that a transporter is moving through.

Yes, but now nobody knows where from because it’s being shouted from a over. So now noone knows which way to look and may just assume it’s not near them.


It’s not just that. This is dangerous and has the opposite effect of letting people know there is a robot coming. It teaches everyone to tune it out.

Everyone should stop yelling “robot”.


Lots of “ROBOT!” at MSC, but it is very hard to avoid. We have that HUGE clear area in front of pit admin that is a no-robot-zone. How about making that a large two-lane highway for robots and drive teams instead of forcing them to navigate through pit row where you can’t go 8 feet without running into another two groups standing in front of their pits?

Someone previously used the term situational awareness.

FRC is one of the only events where the competitors and their equipment interact with the masses, whether it is teams or observers.

A percentage of people have no regard relating to space or congestion. They will stop and talk in the traffic lane. They will stop at the intersection of hallways. They stand in front of pits blocking the path. Many times it happens at a known pinch point. This also happens at the grocery store and other high traffic locations.

One way traffic of robots in the pits might help if there is enough space at each venue. This would mean there is only one direction people need to look.

I have no issue with ROBOT if used properly. Having 3 to 5 people yelling it is terrible. Having one person in front of the robot saying it is fine.

I would not want to seperate the bots and competitors from the public like most other sports. The interaction is a true positive for both the teams and the public. A key is that everyone needs to realize that robots on carts have the right of way.

If we are allowed to install crowd control devices, I think an array of cattle prods will be added to the front of our cart.:wink:


Why don’t they just organize the pits for walking areas and robot areas? Like bicycle lanes, it would separate the traffic. It may get slightly cramped within the pit area walkways, but the main walkway to the field should definitely have it.

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What’s that?

Neither of the events I attended this year had a “main walkway”, nor room for one. In both cases, the pits and the field were right next to each other, separated by a curtain, pit admin, and related functions; the red and blue queuing areas came directly off the warren of pit walkways. As noted in several cases above, if the walkways had been wider, there would not have been capacity for as many teams.

I used a broad unspecific term here, my bad. All the way around the pit is generally where there would be the most robot traffic due to the fact that all teams have to go through that area to get to the field. This is what I meant by the main walkway. Yes, it would take up space, maybe 5 feet x however long, but it would allow for unrestricted flow of robots.

I’ve thought the same thing for fifteen years. My standard response has been “Robot? Where? There are sixty robots her this weekend, which one do you mean?”
When I was inspecting and had to be out in the pits all day, it really got tiring.
The real problem is too many people in the aisles. Often they know a team is bringing a robot down the aisle, and don’t want to hold them up for their match, but just have no place to go that instant. It takes time to react and move out of the way.

Teams need to realize this and give themselves enough time to navigate the aisles safely on their way to the field. Your poor planning is not our emergency. You should not expect to roll down the aisle at breakneck speed - or even a fast walk - with a robot cart.

Less yelling and more thinking would be good.

And I hate all the hard hats and fluorescent vests too. Someone called it Safety Theater. Good one.


I think the people taking the robot should be careful and if others look where they are going it all works out. Shouting robot looks dumb and also distracts people from what they are doing. When you are trying to have a converstation and you hear a loud “ROBOT” its quite annoying and gets old. first needs to make up their mind and voice it to the volunteers whether to say it or not.

Hmmm. I’ve never noticed a “domino effect” in calling “robot”. Maybe a regional problem? Or maybe I’m just not very observant?

I would have to agree that if there was a “domino effect”, it would be bad. It would completely negate what I mentioned earlier as the reason I like the custom of saying (not yelling) “robot”. It’s very efficient communication. In one word, it tells a lot about what is going on and where a hazard exists. If that word were echoed by people in the general vicinity, suddenly it would be lots of words, and you would lose information about the location of the problem.

If people in some regions are prone to echoing the “robot” call, I could understand why people would find it so irritating. As for knowing that a robot is in motion, you could probably infer that a robot is in motion based on the fact that you are at a robotics competition and robots have to go from the pits to the field and back. It’s only useful information if it informs you that a robot is in motion right here, right now, and with the possibility that you are an obstacle to that robot’s motion.

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Not trying to shame any group/country or team, but apparently a rookie team from Mexico thought it was still a good thing to shout “robot” like sonar pings while walking thru Houston.

I did try to let the lead walker know it was unnecessary in as nice of a way possible and explained other ways to help clear the way. It seemed like a learned behavior and they were just doing what they were told in the interest of safety. However, in my view, the path was pretty much clear in the dedicated robot transport aisle while they were shouting.

Perhaps this culture change needs to be translated to other countries as well.

I hate when teams shout “ROBOT” when there is no one around.
I had a team, at St. Louis, yelling “ROBOT”, while traveling between Arena and Pits. I was the only in the vicinity and I wasn’t in the way.

I wish we could just attach this to our robot cart…


Whenever a team shouts robot I call back “human”. It usually gets a smile.

You can. There’s nothing saying you can’t

On 423 we put the old (~2003 IIRC) alliance-color rotating light on our cart and wired it to an old decommissioned robot battery. It wasn’t very bright, but it did add something. Ideally we could add soft horns to the cart, but I vaguely remember there being a rule against that. (It’s been a while though, I could be misremembering)