Multiple Robots Question

Hello all and I know I may be opening up a can of worms with this next question but here it goes!!!

Our team wants to build a robot for this season. We want to use that robot for some of the at home challenges like the hyper drive challenge and then use our 2020 robot for the ball related challenges.

So I looked on the official Q and A section of the FIRST Website and found that someone asked the question and it was answered accordingly:

2 Robots: at home vs in person

Answer listed there said: Answer

Yes, C5 requires that “each registered FIRST Robotics Competition team may enter only one (1) ROBOT (or ‘Robot’, a ROBOT-like assembly equipped with most of its drive base, i.e. its MAJOR MECHANISM that enables it to move around a FIELD) into a 2021 FIRST Robotics Competition Event.” At Home Challenges are different events from each other and are different events from an in-person event, which means different ROBOTS may be used for these different events.

My interpretation of that answer is that each at Home challenge is unique to itself. So multiple robots can be used. But then I looked it up in the manual for this year and that states:

SC8. All Skills Challenge runs should be completed with the same ROBOT in the same configuration.
This is not intended to prevent teams from making minor upgrades or enhancements
throughout the path of the Skills Competition. The intent of this rule is to prevent teams
from making substantial changes to their ROBOT between challenges (e.g. completing
the POWER PORT challenge, and then removing all POWER CELL related mechanisms for
completion of the Hyperdrive challenge).

So if we build a new robot and do NOT modify its build between challenges we should be ok with the two robot approach. Cant wait to read the comment son this one!

The same robot must be used for each of the five at-home challenges (Galactic Search, AutoNav,
HyperDrive, Interstellar Accuracy, Power Port).
My understanding of the rules is a different robot may be used for the Judged Awards, as well as any in-person play should HQ and your local authorities allow it.

For our team, we are also building two different machines. One is a fully realized Infinite Recharge-playing robot (sans climber); the other is a quick chassis with a rudimentary intake, designed to complete the autonomous challenges. Whichever design yields the best results for 3/5 of the challenges, will be the one we officially submit; we will only submit one set of videos/stats for the one chosen robot design.

@Taylor According to the answer that was given in the Q and A system each of the at home challenges are unique to themselves. Where did you get the “The same robot must be used for each of the five at-home challenges (Galactic Search, AutoNav, HyperDrive, Interstellar Accuracy, Power Port).” statement?

SC8.

All Skills Challenge runs should be completed with the same ROBOT in the same configuration.

And the blue box beneath that rule.

This is not intended to prevent teams from making minor upgrades or enhancements
throughout the path of the Skills Competition. The intent of this rule is to prevent teams
from making substantial changes to their ROBOT between challenges (e.g. completing
the POWER PORT challenge, and then removing all POWER CELL related mechanisms for
completion of the Hyperdrive challenge).

I definitely see where the confusion lies because the answer you got in the Q and A was not very specific, but I think we have to assume that the answer they gave you does not directly contradict a rule from the manual. The purpose of the Q&A is to prevent us from having to make these assumptions but this answer just makes me more confused.

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Reading the Q&A together with SC8 that you posted, I took that combination to mean each Challenge (Infinite Recharge At Home, Infinite Recharge 2021, Judged Awards, Game Design, Innovation Challenge) is different from the others, and may use different robots to complete each (Q&A response). However, within the skills challenges of IRAH, the same robot must be used (SC8).

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I asked a clarification question in the official Q&A portal. IF they say that the challenges have to be done with a single robot I believe this limits teams that want to build a new robot today. In addition and I know I am getting a soap box here but IF a team wants to build a swerve drive chassis bot to compete in the challenges where maneuverability is the goal shouldn’t they be given the chance to do so. How does a 2020 Tank Drive Robot try to compete with a Swerve Chassis with regards to the HyperDrive challenge as an example.

I’m glad you asked for clarification, be sure to update this thread when you get it. I don’t think SC8 prevents or disincentives teams from building a new robot for 2021. It only prevents teams from using completely different robots for each competition in an effort to maximize their score, this removes a huge factor from general robot design, that being versatility. If a team wants to build a swerve chassis they can do that, but they must also mount a functioning intake and shooter on that chassis if they want to compete in all of the challenges. I think the main purpose of the rule is to make the @home challenges more similar to real competitions so teams who cannot build new robots (for whatever reason) can still be competitive in the challenges.

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You’re right. That’s why teams must complete at least 3/5 of the challenges, to mitigate any inherent advantages a particular design may have over another.

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I will update when they answer my additional question. Since we started this team we have explained to the students that a robot design, build and drive is based on what we want to do in the game and with our alliance BUT for this season that type of competition is not relevant.

This years game is of singular nature and what we can do alone. We believe the comps for the At Home Challenges such as HyperDrive should be setup based on the type of drive your robot possesses. This challenge is pure movement and speed and in that type of situation a Tank Drive would have a very difficult time competing against a Swerve Drive.

While the decision to go with one or the other in any other year than this one is a valid argument when it comes to challenges like the HyperDrive, the swerve has leaps and bounds of benefits over the tank drive. This is why we thought of making the leap and having the students understand and build a Swerve drive robot within the limited time and funds for this years game.

I am trying to inspire my team, conserve funds and be able to allow them to compete in all of the events while having a fighting chance to win each of the challenges.

I do understand some of the frustration. We built our bot from last season to easily take off/replace the main mechanisms and now we can’t use that feature (we’ll still highlight it for the judges). I do agree with the rules for one robot and one configuration for all of the challenges.

In the extreme sense, a high resource team could split off 5 teams to each build a one task optimized robot. In less extreme, a medium sized team could easily build a shooter and a separate small speed racer.

I would so so so heavy advise against this. If you need to reconcile the thought process to achieve this, try thinking of this year as FRC lite where winning is not as big of a deal. Swerve (even with COTS) is so hard to pull off the first time that if you’re trying to “win” you will likely be faster with tank simply due to the time and practice saved. I try and focus on stem first, winning later. We don’t win a lot, but it sucks to lose the game and the inspiration from over-reaching and making something sub-par.

We have a tank drive from last year and we are considering changing it up, but with a compromise. We gutted two old similar chassis down to the wheels. One we left the belts on to keep the 6 wheel tank. The other I ran to menards and grabbed some swivel casters to turn one into a shopping cart. Last Saturday the students used foot-power to race the shopping cart front and backwards against the tank. The rough results are good enough that we ordered omnis to throw on the front and remove the middle wheels to try next week. The middle axles are still in place for power and no destruction has to happen yet save for the wheel change.

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So is it explicitly clear about the multiple robots questions? Can a team use different robots for the Judges awards then the At Home Challenges. BUT all At Home Challenges HAVE to use the same robot?

SC8. All submitted Skills Competition challenges must be completed with the same ROBOT in the same configuration.