Should there be an engineering champs-qualifying award?

Should there be an award similar to EI or Chairman’s that qualifies a team for champs but is based solely on robot performance, aesthetic, or design? This could be good for teams who rank high, perform well, or have an awesome design in general that don’t qualify due to many uncontrollable factors. Poll above, leave your thoughts below.

Superior engineering can already advance teams to the next level of competition. No need to leave that to the Judges.

Want to improve correlation between superior engineering and the results of on-field performance? Play more matches.

The qualifying engineering award is the game. The teams that have engineered the best robot earn district points/win the event.

this is called the district system

I thought the blue banner that says “Winner” on it was an engineering award, in addition to other things.

In total, it ideally represents the alliance that had the most effective strategy, alliance selection, and robot design that worked given the challenged proposed at the event.

I’ve always personally felt like this is what EI should be even though it isn’t judged this way. A team/robot that inspires others with the engineering behind their robot.

I think this is where winning events and getting wildcarded comes into play. :stuck_out_tongue:
That being said, I think that there could be an award like this. But because judges are not typically well-versed in FRC, there would be a lot of stink about why teams get an award when another team could be just as qualified.

Honestly, EI could be made into a purely engineering award as opposed to what it currently is. EI, as it currently stands, is more of a Chairmans-lite award.

I voted no. But… I wouldn’t be opposed to filling at least some of the waitlist spots at Champs with teams based on performance criteria at their tournaments. Perhaps similar to district point rankings, but somehow calculated equitably for all teams. Not even going to pretend I have a solution for that.

And we’re in Cali

Rip us

In districts, overall robot performance is rewarded as well as winning events. This is different from regionals where you could not qualify for champs with the third best robot in the world if you went to all of your regionals with #1 and #2. Could this be a sort of midway point between districts and regionals that would be much easier to implement, and still give some unrecognized teams a chance to qualify?

All regionals are generating a wildcard for the finalist alliance captain.

For all of those saying it, the best engineered robot is not always rewarded with the win. But to answer Poseidon’s question, yes the District system is pretty much what you are looking for.

And the automatic wildcard (and the other wildcards) are trying to compensate for those poor souls not yet in districts. :wink: I can see the argument that an award like this might also, but the problem is with actual implementation. The tournament system certainly doesn’t pick the best-engineered robot automatically, but would the judges? I might warm to the idea a little if it were an optional award like RAS. Maybe something like a “Judges’ Wildcard” that they could pull out in specific cases, whether it be sending another deserving Rookie to HalfChamps or wildcarding an absolutely stellar 'bot like this.

It’s still a little sketchy, though. I’m not a huge fan of waitlist slots, but I understand HQ wanting to preserve some. How many is too few? Or would another award potentially over-book a HalfChamp (maybe not this year, but how sustainable is it)? Can we put even more effort and weight on the judges?

I’ll say no for a few reasons, but I’ll also serve to rebute a point I’ve seen in these comments.

EI is not Chairmans. Chairmans is for an impact on the FIRST community. Engineering Inspiration is for impact on the local technology community, outside of the FIRST family of programs, but still standing for the morals and mission thereof. For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

To add another award based on robot performance that advances to me (in a district) seems silly, as the amazing robots win matches, even if not events, and therefore still advance them to Championship. Looking this year at the MAR teams who qualify, I can’t say a single one of them who didn’t have an amazing robot or who didn’t deserve it wholly. Even the teams who didn’t quite make the cut for Champs still had amazing robots, and some who didn’t even make the cut for DCMP had amazing robots.

The argument here isn’t quite as clear cut as you make it out to with your poll, but the question I see is “should we get more teams to champs”, which will always be a yes from me. The question of how HQ and teams do so, that, is far more difficult to answer properly.

It isn’t so much that teams who qualify don’t deserve it, or don’t have awesome robots, it’s that there are some teams who have awesome robots and who have a good argument for also qualifying who didn’t. This award wouldn’t increase the amount of teams going to champs, at least on the surface. It would cut down on the amount of teams who qualify by waitlist (not saying FIRST wouldn’t increase the amount of teams going to champs to counteract this, but just that if this award was added, waitlist slots would have to be cut in order to accommodate the current volume).

I think… that such an award would be well-received, IF it was pulled for a “valid reason”. Basically, each judge crew gets 1x JW. Valid criteria for use are: you REALLY NEED a second RAS, OR there is a team who ran into extreme bad luck despite the engineering (and they performed well–call it made it into playoffs as a minimum baseline). Oh, and the team it is applied to–if it is applied–has no further chances to qualify for CMP and is NOT on the waitlist.

There is another qualifying award…
I believe it’s currently titled “HQ Wildcard”**, and used in very extreme cases where something went very haywire. These are the ones you see when Frank writes a blog about it. I can think of MAYBE 10 of those total in my entire FRC career, 6 of which were on two incidents a few years apart (and both of those were roughly 10 years ago).

**My name for it. I’m not aware of any official name, primarily because it’s so rarely used.

I think you also have to keep in mind that the engineering awards are heavily decided on how well students explain their robot and its mechanisms.

Sure, a functioning, beautiful robot definitely helps, but if students cannot explain well or demonstrate understanding then the award will go to a team that could.

I’m kind of on the fence about an engineering qualifying award because the metrics for deciding would be hard to define. RCA and EI definitions already need to be revamped AND it is difficult for some teams to have the resources to put together a submission. In addition to that, Judges are already spread thin at large events.

Ultimately, robots are vehicles for students to learn and grow. RCA, EI, and Rookie All Star allow for the recognition of teams that effectively demonstrate how FIRST has led a team to bring passion for FIRST values to everyone they encounter, their community, etc. None of them are perfect, and if you don’t earn one of them, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t a role model for other teams to emulate.

I highly recommend looking at the FIRST definitions of the awards. It will provide at least some guideline into what they mean and how to earn them.

And we’re in Colorado.

Rip us as well.

If you open up the ability for engineering awards to qualify teams for Championships, then you would have to create a series of minimum performance standards, objective metrics, and certain checkboxes for teams to attain. Also, this award may inherently bias teams that can afford a more robust machine.

But, these standards are no different from the ones required to win an event. You need to perform well in matches or perform in a manner which suits a strategy applicable to eliminations. A Champs-qualifying engineering award would require its recipients to perform at the same level as the robot that wins the event.