Robot Speed Rules

Is there any rules in regards to the max speed of the robots. We are thinking our robot goes pretty fast and strong and could cause some damage. Is there is a requirement on speed how do you slow it down. Our guess is in the programming, but being a rookie team using labview, we don’t know how. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


To the best of my knowledge, there is not a speed limit other than to not cause an unsafe situation, and those imposed by Newton. Remember, the court isn’t actually that long, and I have never heard of a team gearing a robot for more than about 15 fps.

There is no speed rule. Just don’t tear up the field. If you aren’t buring holes in the carpet your practicing on I wouldn’t worry.

As a 10 year veteran trust me when I say you robot probably isn’t as fast as you think. You will be shocked by the speed and cotrol teams have at the highest level.

There have been a lot of teams gear for more than 15 fps. 2008 is a prime example of team gearing high. Many teams were geared for 18 fps and a few probably hit 20. (this is obviously freespeed and they lost speed on the floor)

Good to know! still, my point was that the speed of the robot was fundamentally limited by the design constraints and Newton, not the rules.

I was not questioning your thoughts. I totally agree with your reasoning.

973 was geared for a little over 20(free-speed) in 2011. It’s not uncommon to see teams shoot for that range, however it greatly depends on the game. For instance in 2010, it was very uncommon to see teams in the 16ft/s+ range because of the large bumps in the field. In 2008(as was mentioned before) a lot of teams geared high because it was basically a speed game. 148 even geared for 30ft/s, however later re-geared their robot to a slower speed.

jalmos, I highly recommend that if your team is shooting for higher speeds then you definitely use a 2-speed gearbox. The super-shifter from AndyMark is a good choice.

Yes and no–this is generally a good idea in many standard drivetrains, but it is not something I’d advocate a team undertake with 12 days to ship day without a full appreciation of the issues.

This is JVN’s mechanical design spreadsheet, which many teams have found exceptionally useful. Run your numbers and see where you stand–once you get much past 10 feet/second, you’re requiring a bit more skill. (And mind that acceleration will be much more common this year thanks to the dividers and bridges; the faster you gear the robot, the more current you’ll draw on each launch and while pushing. You’re going to push.)

If you’re using the kit drivetrain and you decide your speed is not what you want, I’d suggest changing your wheel sprockets (or output shaft sprocket, but double sprockets are harder to find). This is much easier than integrating all-new gearboxes, but it has the above-mentioned tradeoffs.

While there might not be any ruling about the max speed of your robot, be aware that high speed ramming is generally frowned upon. Don’t get me wrong, it does happen. If you are zipping across the field to make a defensive stop, I typically encourage the drivers to take the speed down a notch just before interacting with another robot.