Legality of Programs Running Parallel to Driver Station

Our team is planning to use a program that communicates with the robot during the competition. We use it alongside Driver Station to make it easy for our Drive Team to view information regarding the robot’s current state and the current values of its components.

We have looked over the “8.1 Operator Console” section in the 2018 game manual, but some details are not clear. We would like to know if using this program during the competition is legal.

Any reason not to use the LabVIEW Dashboard, SmartDashboard, or Shuffleboard?

The Driver Station is not user friendly, compared to what we are designing for our program. It is important that the data is easily, and quickly, accessible in the fast-paced competition environment.

Assuming you mean the actual driver station, In general yes it’s not good for custom info. Printing out stuff to console is generally not a great thing to do in a periodic loop - soaks up bandwidth and a surprising amount of processor clock cycles.

Have you looked into specifically SmartDashboard, or Shuffleboard? The former is pretty easy to get something basic set up in, and the latter is new this year (I haven’t tried it yet, but it has lots of the same design goals as SmartDashboard).

As to the legality of such a program, I’d recommend getting as precise a description as you can and posting a Q&A. In general as long as the program doesn’t interfere with or replace the actual driver station, I am not aware of any rule that would prohibit it.

We will likely have a web-based dashboard this year, which means we’ll have to run chrome alongside the driver station every match.

I would be very careful with R97, and double-check Section 3.10, but I also can’t find anything against a parallel driver’s station.

However, I will caution that you will want to be able to pull up the stock version so that inspectors can check some key stuff like firmware. If they can’t check that, you can’t compete!

I’d write the Q&A something like “Is there any rule prohibiting the use of a custom-made driver’s station window for ease of viewing robot status, if used in parallel with the official Driver’s Station?”

1418 last year used a complete custom python Smartdashboard that had a pretty simple implementation system (though we never used it.) That may be something to look into.

Yes. Many teams use their own dashboards and custom programs. Make sure you are aware of the rules (use the correct ports or just use NetworkTables.)

FRC Dashboard, Shuffleboard, and about a million more (including my own) do the same thing. So before sinking development time into this, see if you can adapt one of these to suit your needs.