Low Robot vs High Robot for Infinite Recharge Challenge

What is the best design for a robot for the 2020 challenge? What would be the challenges or advantages for each type of design? Our team has taken into consideration of each of our departments’ challenges in regards to the two designs, and we are not able to reach a decision that would satisfy all our departments’ needs.


Exactly! Each one has advantages, and disadvantages. There is no “best” answer. The answer depends on how your team wants to play the game, and what your strengths and weaknesses are. It’s a tough decision.


I think thats the beauty of this one


It’s a tough decision. Right now, we’re generally of the mindset that we’ll try to go low, but if it doesn’t work out, we can accept going high. Going to be discussed and debated tomorrow though.


For the sake of my own personal interest, here’s a poll (results are anonymous):

  • Short Robot (goes under color wheel)
  • Tall Robot (does not go under color wheel)

0 voters


Please clarify, what’s the color wheel? Is it near the wheel of fortune?


Or is it the pizza???


Your team may want to consider simulating the game using team members as robots to see how different scenarios play out.

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Make sure to use a small and non claustrophobic person as the short robot so that they can reasonably make it through the trench


We didn’t have a cover on the trench for “safety reasons”. Whatever “safety” means, surely it’s not more important than getting to hide under the trench!


You’re probably going to have trouble at higher levels if you have 3 high robots. 3 low robots isn’t much better than 2 low robots. I think too many teams are going to go low because they are afraid of the 3 tall alliance.

I’d encourage most teams to go tall, yeah, you might have a handful of all tall matches in quals, but it’s not a concern in playoffs since you’ll be able to build your own alliance (and if you’re unlikely to be a captain, then I’d say tall is even better as being short is not a feature of the Minimum Competitive Concept IMO).


There are a lot of height considerations for this game, namely the anti-defense rules for the loading/shooting/trench zone (creates a largely defense free lane), the ability to pick up 5 balls in a straight line during auton, and the lower wear and tear from not driving over those bumps in the middle of the field.

That being said, probably only 1 robot per match will benefit from being low height, and it makes a lot of other things more difficult

We are designing our robot to do all of the other things we want to do first, and if we can fit it under the trench run, we will.

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Another answer to your question is “one that your team can build within the constraints and resources relevant to your team and have it work sufficiently well”.


I would imagine the largest issue would be defense no? Taller robots could just totally obscure your vision of the scoring zones without contacting you… There’s no rule on intentionally “blocking shots” is there? Shorter robots should have difficulty shooting over taller robots from the trench… Right?

I think it’s all 3. There is also a real name for it, the CONTROL PANEL.

I like Pizza, myself.


Please elaborate. I can only think of one thing, that is shooting into the inner port. Even a trench runner should be able to launch power cells into the outer port in the protected target zone triangle.

To hang from the power generator switch you need to push something up even if you’re max height, and you’ll only need a lot of force for it in tension, so it doesn’t need to be that heavy.

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A pizza spinner would probably need to be raised from a short robot, but not from a tall robot. The hang thing has more room on a tall robot for a simple “stick” to poke up to hook the bar, while a short robot will need something a bit different (which may or may not be more challenging to design and build). Ball handling stuff might be easier to design/build with a tall robot, too.

Porque no los dos?

Look at some of the tall ‘bots that went under the low bar in 2016.


Why does my computer cost the same as my phone but it is bigger, easier to repair, and more powerful? Making things small is both expensive and hard. From a design perspective, making a small robot do all the same things as a big robot, as well as a big robot, is very difficult.

It is important to note that despite their tradeoffs, small robots have all of the benefits listed in my other post.


I think 2016 is a really good baseline to answer the OP’s question. Look at the similarities:

2016 Low (bar) vs. High

  • Low bots had a guaranteed passage in every match regardless of defense placement
  • Having at least 1 low robot was better than 0, but more than 1 low robot didn’t matter much
  • High robots had better trajectory to shoot high

2020 Low vs. High

  • Low bots have a protected lane to traverse most of the field through
  • Having at least 1 cycler to utilize the trench is beneficial, more than 1 doesn’t matter much
  • High robots have better trajectory to hit the 3pt goal

The key differences b/w these seasons (unless you know of better ones) are:

  • Low robots in 2020 have nearly twice the height to work with compared to 2016, and the trench has no obstacles compared to the low bar
  • The climbing challenge in 2020 has the added balancing aspect
  • Low robots in 2020 require an active manipulator to allow scoring with the control panel pizza

So how did teams sway in 2016? I don’t have any data to back this up, but it seemed most teams went with low robots, probably to get the bonus RP without going through the Sally Port/Portcullis. This seemed especially true among powerhouse teams, who wanted to make sure they were capable of all game tasks.

In 2020, I think there’s a solid case for teams to build tall robots in order to have better shooting (and less defense), as well as the option to use a fixed position manipulator for the pizza. I wouldn’t bet on the ratio being much different than 2016, though, with the allure of the trench.