Safety "FIRST"


I have waited until our district final was completed to write this post. Let me start by saying that I really think FIRST has created a great game this year. A great tribute to our space exploration and fifty year anniversary of the lunar landing. All games have their good points and bad points. This years’ game is no exception, but one of the bad points has turned out to be a major flaw. SAFETY!!! As I expected, the defense has ramped up every week with intensity to the point that safety has been overlooked by FIRST. Defense is okay if played with the intention of preventing your opponent from scoring. Many teams have played good defense against us this year. Many teams have played “Destructive Defense” against us this year. You can tell the intent as soon as the contact/engagement starts between both robots; “Battle Bots??”. FIRST opened “Pandora’s Box” by letting robots attack other robots at their most vulnerable moments. Defense on the field is fine and I agree with it, but when a robot is engaging with a field element “such as the rocket on the side of the field” and lifting to heights of six to seven feet they should be protected. Robots are protected at the loading stations why aren’t they protected at the rocket? This also poses a huge safety risk to personnel around the field, many of them are volunteers. It would be a shame to see someone get hurt by a robot falling or a part of the robot falling into the scoring table outside the field. I’m afraid it will only get worse at the championships in Houston and Detroit. FIRST can fix this now by creating a contiguous line wrapping around the front of the rocket connecting the ends of the alignment lines. Once a robot enters this area the defensive robot must give way. They should do this before the Houston and Detroit competitions. A lot of sports (football, basketball, etc.) will make changes during seasons if a rule possibly puts players in danger or if it affects the content of play on the field or court. While the points are reset to “0”, FIRST should consider this and make the change now. A simple change that doesn’t affect good defense, it just helps to protect vulnerable robots and personnel around the field and I feel it will improve the quality of the matches…… Could write more but I think you get my point….



I get where you are coming from, but this wouldn’t allow for enough space for a defense robot to drive past the cargo ship while an offensive robot is scoring, which kind of just traps the robot there.



This. The rules around defense aren’t particularly great, and the layout of the field doesn’t leave an easy, obvious solution.

At this point in the season my opinion is basically “meh, maybe next year”.



This would basically just kill the point of having defense to begin with. Spectator Safety really is in the hands of proper robot inspection. Ensuring robots do not have explosive mechanisms or the ability to accidentally fling game pieces at spectators. That being said there is something to be said about field netting, but that gets into spectator viewing quality.



Not going to happen. The last team update has already happened, the Q&A is closed… FIRST would need a very good reason to make such a drastic change at this point. Your concern over safety is laudable, but honestly… any year there are high scoring goals and no height limit on the robots this is a concern. I saw more than a few robots tip over last year trying to score on the Scale, and a few tip over this year trying to climb. Despite attending 3 events in person this year, however, I did not actually see a robot fall outside of the playing field (I saw this happen twice last year, though!). Now, that’s anecdotal evidence and I’m sure you can find cases of robots falling outside of the field this year.

Those near the field are aware of the risks and have their eyes wide open, both for their safety and the safety of everyone else in the area. So long as FIRST allows robots to go up high in a game, there will be a risk of them falling over and extending past the field barrier, defense or not.
I bet if we looked at all the footage from 2015, we could find a tipped robot that meets these parameters, and there was NO defense at all that year!



My team’s mentors all agree that our drivers are to avoid hitting robots with their lift extended not only for safety, but also because a falling robot can easily damage itself. However, If everything is lowered, a robot should be designed to not tip over if the bumpers are given a good shove.



I agree and disagree. A line would make it way to heard to play defense. I like how easy defense is this year, you need to plan for it. There are also easy ways to get around it. If a line were to be made, which it won’t, it would need to be 2inches around the rocket just so your bumpers fit in. Then the defender gets like 5 seconds to vacate the area.

I don’t think it is a huge issue. If there is a defender, don’t lift your lift/arm/mech. Plan the match accordingly if you know there will be a defender. Do level 3 in sandstorm. Play counter D etc.