Ramp bots probably won’t work and here’s why


It could be, but it probably won’t happen too often. You’ll have teams figuring out how the game is played, and even powerhouse teams take an event or so before they dial in their bots (unless you’re 1114 in 2015). Teams will struggle with placing the panels (not dropping them), working with partners, and working around defense.


How not? You can expand 30” in all directions at the same time if you wanted


That would be a very narrow robot to stay within frame perimeter. L1 is 3’ deep, the ramps another 10", so max width of the robot would be only 17", which would be very narrow indeed. While you could extend flaps out to the sides to increase ramp width, it all looks pretty unstable to me. And that’s not even addressing the question of the back wheels hanging in the air, even assuming you’ve extended a ramp off the back to ground level (and also assuming that you can fit that into a 30" extension from frame perimeter.) Color me skeptical of this particular solution.


There is no quantitative analysis here to support the assertion that a ramp bot wont work. Is this a rant?


I agree that if the ramp robot is upright (bumpers & FP essentially horizontal) and the ramp is completely outside the bumper perimeter, there are likely to be few robots with a narrow enough track to utilize the ramp. So either lay your robot on its side, or let them drive over your bumpers, or both.


I disagree! Respectfully, of course, an ill explain why.
So, a robot can extend 30" past its frame, that’s in all directions simultaneously. So… assuming that you build a robot with a width of 30", that means you could have create a triangle with a base of 90"! As you only have to rise 22", that makes for a slope of 13.74 degrees. The slope of the ramp onto the first level of the HAB is 15 degrees. I think I made my point.


Keep in mind that in order for the robot to be flat, it will have to avoid the ramp onto the first level of the HAB. Assuming that the robot is at the back of the HAB level 1 platform and extends 30" back, the base would be 58". That would be a slope of over 20 degrees.


Such a ramp would limit the height of the robot, likely preventing scoring on the higher elements. This is not a reason it wouldn’t work, just a counter point on why it may not be as feasible as intended. Playing the game without the ability to score high is possible, and with an almost guaranteed climb, you could probably work out how to get 3 RP most matches.

Assuming that the average RP in quals will be slightly greater than 2, you will fall behind, unless you can also win most of your matches. While a ramp bot may present some technical limitations for the rest of the match, it should be possible to build a working panel and cargo scorer, at least for the low goals.

The two strategies that spring to mind are a ramp / climb bot, and a high scoring robot. Both strategies are trying to get an extra RP per match, so the real diffrence is RP for the win. Obviously, in Elims, only the win matters, so the question is which strategy will win more matches. 12/20 of the hatches are at the low level, and one or two robots probably won’t be able to fill all of them with the 24 cycles necessary, so running out of scoring options does not seem like a problem. Rather, the question come down to how many more panels can a high level bot score while the climb bot climbs. My intuition thinks that the points are likely to be roughly the same, but this is dependent on how long climbing takes.

A fast climbing mechanism, which ramps may or may not be, has an edge over a robot that scores high, so a ramp bot is definitly worth looking into.


I think the point is that every year, people make assertions at the beginning of the year about what will be easy, what will be hard, and what will be impossible, and many times people are wrong. I haven’t been around FIRST too long, but it’s clear to me that every year teams subvert and exceed expectations. Take this from the OP, for example,

That assertion is probably false and I think the ingenuity of past teams supports the idea that it’s false. I think we’ll probably see a team prove it false this year as well.


I believe that you could possibly be wrong. My teams robot this year has a ramp that drops balls of into the low goal. On the back it’s got a arm that moves around and grabs balls/attaches panels. We also have a secret method of driving extended. All under 3.5 feet.


He can make all the points he wants, but the hypocrisy in his answer throws all his points into question.

Back to the original thread, an RI3D Team made a ramp bot.


Southfield week one and Milford week two have potential I think.


It would be worth it but there’s not enough space to make it work. You could make a much smaller system to climb yourself and get the same points.


I’ll reserve the “you’ll never see that at competition” until you actually never see it…


Neat design, but I wouldn’t expect a partner to successfully climb this more than once or twice at an actual competition. It’s steep and requires lining up fairly precisely (and having the right wheel separation).


These issues seem solvable to teams that have more than 3 days to complete their robot.


Look’s pretty adjustable to me, sure it may take a while to line up, but it’s probably worth the ranking point to teams with out a solo climb.
Also, there will probably be better ramps as we get closer to week one of events.


Sorry, but that won’t work. While you can have the 90" ramp, the only way to get that is if the robot remains on the floor. That means your 30" ramp on the platform side won’t span the 46" from the edge of the L1 ramp to the edge of the L3 platform.


It doesn’t have to. It just has to extend to the frame perimeter of the robot, where a possibly fixed ramp above the FP takes it the next 30", some 14" onto the carpet. Another articulated ramp covers the last 30". I get that you’ll lose a couple of inches to the fact that unless you have unequal bumper heights or something else keeping the FP level, your 30" won’t extend truly horizontally. Actually, the ramp bot has to be at least partially in the HAB zone to do this, per G14.


We actually looked into doing a ramp bot this year. The way the geometry works with the expansion limit, you could pretty easily have a folded ramp that covered half of the back of your robot, that could then unfold during the endgame to be wide enough for most robots and provide a modest incline that many teams (I would hope) could handle. This would leave plenty of real estate available for a manipulator in the front of the robot.

That said, we ended up abandoning the idea because we thought it would be a more reliable strategy to build a robot that could get itself onto the 3rd level without assistance quickly and consistently, rather than to be at the mercy of whatever alliance partners you might have, and hope they can both drive up your ramp, and are coordinated enough to allocate themselves enough time to do so. For the ranking point, I would hope just about anyone would be able to drive onto the 1st level platform without issues.