Penalties for a part falling off of robot?

At the Los Angeles Regional, a number of penalties were issued for damaged robots leaving parts on the field. Even in the finals, a penalty was issued to Team 330 because a chain failed and ended up on the field.

It seems to me that having a part fail and losing capability in a robot is enough of a penalty for an alliance. Isn’t tacking on an additional point penalty like pouring salt in a wound?

The intent of <R16> (which can be invoked under <S04>), is to prevent teams from gaining an advantage by expanding outside of the frame perimeter prior to the FINALE period. Having a part of the drive system fail so that it’s now left the frame perimeter is hardly an advantage for the team involved.

Is this penalty the norm at other regionals?

This penalty was called at the Colorado regional too… when 1619’s wheel parts fell off in the quarter finals it was called on them. its all jsut part of the game

They called it at the Arizona Regional.

Sounds like a lot of laws these days. Some are sensible, some are crazy.

In California, truck drivers are now required to cover their loads. You would think that losing cargo and equipment off trucks would cost the companies so much money that they would have prevented it themselves, without a law being enacted, but apparently not. How many traffic reports say there is a ladder (or some other hazard) lying in the freeway lanes? And the tomato trucks in summer still lose tomatoes on the ramp curves.

But with a robot in competition, losing pieces isn’t usually much of a hazard except to the robot. I wonder if FIRST was trying to get teams to build more robust robots (as if teams would intentionally build a weak robot), or if this is just another example of a rule that does not have optimum phrasing.

Or maybe it’s part of their attempt to be “green”–the FIRST version of anti-littering laws?

Although I agree that these penalties are ridiculous I think they are necessary because if the rule was changed to “no penalty if the bot goes out of dimensions because of it breaking” what happens if a bots hanger is deployed because something breaks, do they get a penalty or not?

Don’t lose sight of the spirit of the rule, its to avoid purposeful drooping of parts and separation of robots from subsystem designed to provide advantages. if a match changes based on accidental or purposeful change in the terrain of the game field and you lose due to it, it would make sense why there a rule to ensure teams do all they can to not drop parts.

its meant as deterrence rather than punishment.

I wouldn’t mind dropping a banana peal or throwing a red turtle shell at other robots, but that’s the rules!

Our robot lost a tread in one of our first qualification matches at SVR and we were not penalized.

<R16> During normal operation no part of the ROBOT shall extend outside the vertical projection of the FRAME PERIMETER, except as permitted by Rule <G30>.
(Emphasis on “normal operation” is mine.)

I think the intent is to prevent robots from having mechanisms that can intentionally extend beyond the FRAME PERIMETER to gain advantage (ball manipulation, impeding robots, etc.). Teams probably would not choose to deflect soccer balls by leaving robot parts on the field.

BTW, I didn’t find anything in Q&A regarding this call. Unfortunately, I don’t have the energy tonight to ask GDC the question properly. :rolleyes:

Our robot lost a delrin spacer out of our electronics board one match, and no penalty was called. It sounds like SVR wasn’t as picky on the parts detaching from the robot rule.

I dont think penalties should be called for falling parts.
It was called in all 3 regionals we attended. SD, AZ and HI.
We were called on it twice for our polycarbonate shield coming off the top of our bot. It was 2 of 3 penalties I believe we got this season.
The other was for herding 2 balls at once, which by the way is legal! The head ref admitted later that one member of her team got it wrong, but wouldnt change the score after we challenged it.

Here’s my gripe. It was caused by the opponent due to heavy defense from us trying to score soccer balls into goals.
I thought that the opponent couldnt cause you to receive a penalty?:rolleyes:

I’d ask the head ref prior to the starting of matches on what they will call. Its obvious that it depends on the referee team at the respective regional.


We had a match where a pair of pliers fell on the field. This I think SHOULD be a penalty for negligence. I don’t think small items falling from bots should be penalties unless they pose a threat to the operation of other bots, ans they are not usually obvious and attributable to a certain bot. In the case of larger items which could flip up and get snagged into the drive trains of other bots, I feel that the penalty is justified. Remember what caused the crash of the Concorde? It was a part that fell onto the runway from an earlier jet’s takeoff.

-Dick Ledford

Hm…this is interesting.

In a couple of our matches, some the zipties that held on excess surgical tubings snapped off, and they would just drag behind the robot, and in one particular match, one of our chains popped off. We never got penalized for these.

I think it’s all about taking a rule based off what its intentions are, or its 100% translation and applying that ruling. Lukily the head ref at Palmetto is awesome, and extremely reasonable.

We have had mixed results. AT KC (week 1): I don’t remeber this being called ever. At one point we lost 4 meccanum rollers and all the bolts and washers to go with them.
AT OKC (week 4): Teams were getting called for chains, treads, surgical tubing, ect. that were still attached to the robot, but not being called for pieces that completely fell off.

Actually, it got called on us at KC when we lost a chain in our first (and I think third) match.

Once we got the chains tensioned correctly, it was never a problem for us again, fortunately.

In New Jersey they were pretty lenient towards broken robots and understood that if a robot breaks and a part is outside of normal configuration it wasn’t done on purpose and I don’t think any penalties were called.

In Philly we were called for having a piece of aluminum sticking out of our robot after we were involved in a hard impact. The aluminum served no purpose other than to act as a spacer and it was still within the bumper perimeter, but the refs chose to call us on it.

Hopefully the refs will be understanding at the Championship, but if not, I guess it just means that we should all build more robust machines, right?

The penalty was called at the Seattle Regional. One alliance lost a semi-final match because a chain failed and was left on the field. Another team was penalized when their bumper came off.

That happened to us in St. Louis. We were playing midfield, and during autonomous our alliance member kicked a ball right into our hanger - the impact was big enough to cause it to become unlatched, and the gas spring sent the whole thing up… and slightly out of our frame perimeter. Our drive team handled it great, and played a very laid back game that time with no robot-robot interaction. We were not penalized.

The other rule that you need to take into consideration that they could be calling as well is <G41>:
<G41> Detaching MECHANISMS - ROBOTS may not intentionally detach parts or leave MECHANISMS on the FIELD. Violation: PENALTY for each incident and potential RED CARD if an intentionally detached COMPONENT or MECHANISM impedes MATCH play.
Bumper covers must not detach, even unintentionally, from the ROBOT. Violation: PENALTY.

I agree though, that teams should not be penalized for their robots breaking and pieces like chains, treads, nuts, bolts, etc. Although for larger pieces and objects on the robot like arms, shields, etc. should warrant an intitial warning and then possibly a penalty in subsequent matches if teams do not fix the problem. Teams should not be prohibited from playing the game because another team did not secure their mechanisms well.

Our team got a penalty in the semi-finals when our wheel fell off… quite embarassing actually

In one match we had a side panel completely fall off after a ball got caught between it and the robot (we use velcro). There was no penalty called for it, not sure if the refs gave us a warning. In a few other matches we had our top panel come loose and partially break frame perimiter, however it might have been too slight for the refs to catch.

During a semifinal match we got hit pretty hard and the back panel of our robot clearly broke bumper perimiter for the rest of the match. The refs chose to call us on that one and it cost us the semis (would have been an 8-8 tie, great match). I think I can see how these were called differently, but I think some official word from the GDC would be good before championships

I agree with this. I do not think this was called at either regional we attended. The penalty of being out of the bumper zone and extending before the twenty seconds was called. I think the penalty, to me, means that if there is a part the robot is dragging around with them that is extending beyond the bumper zone and is continuing to score that is a penalty. For example, this weekend there was a team at the Philly regional whose bumper was falling off and flapping around outside of the bumper zone and they were penalized for that and continuing to score, well it was only a one point penalty. Just my two cents here.