Value of a Gear Ground Pickup

There has been a lot of scattered discussion regarding the pros and cons of having a Gear ground pickup. Now that teams (hopefully) have started finalizing designs and are in the process of building, I’m curious to know how many teams opted to go with a Gear ground pickup, and why?

Given that many teams are designing a “Gearage” which are essentially big boxes that can only eject a Gear when the pilot lifts the spring, how valuable can a Gear ground pickup be?

I would call it likely that a majority of teams won’t have the ability to eject a Gear without help from a Pilot. I would also call it likely that most Gearages will do a good job of containing Gears, and there will be relatively few Gears on the floor that weren’t placed there intentionally.

I think a Gear ground pickup does open up some interesting strategic possibilities, but are these worth the resources, time and effort to develop vs. a simple box?

Since no one out there really cares too much what 1339 is planning (not like tier one teams, at least), I’ll go ahead and tell you. We have designed for floor pickup of GEARS on the opposite end of the robot from GEAR placement. We recognized that FUEL would be the primary focus of most top teams, but we wanted to take a different approach that would play to our strengths, and would potentially play a rare or unique role. I don’t know if GEARS on the floor will be common or not, but I suspect that low level teams will be focusing on GEARS, and that the drop areas will be when they are loaded and unloaded, potentially cutting off future scoring chances. A reliable and fast floor pickup may end up being a clutch player. We also considered the possibility of a two or three GEAR autonomous, though we know that’s remote. Who knows? The game is yet to be played, and floor pickups might be a dark horse.

^^ We’re doing just about the same thing for the same reasons. We started with a “lift it out” prototype, though we’re working to have a “gear pusher” in a week or so to push the gear home against the lift and at least the bottom parts of a floor pickup by bag day

That said, climbing is more important than the gear upgrades.

We’re not investing in one for simplicity’s sake, but I expect them to be valuable both for helping allies with preload gears (2 gear autons!) and with drops. While I still can’t envision teams often dropping gears that are inside their gear funnels, some teams will–at least initially–struggle with loading station lineup. Even if it doesn’t happen in many matches, an opponent dropping a gear at their loading station is a massive gift that most alliances won’t be able to take advantage of. We’ll also see some fumbles at the airship even from passive lifts, for instance with drivers pulling away too soon or gears slowly falling off springs and not landing back in the funnel.

Point being, as some passive frisbee loaders demonstrated in 2013, FRC matches ensure sufficient failure modes even for electromechanically simple mechanisms. It’s hard to predict how common they’ll be at your particular qual matches, but they’re highly valuable to pickups when they do. Good luck to you!

EDIT: Ground pickups and their allies (or whoever) may also be able to force fumbles at the airship, hitting robots while they’re around the peg to release or have their pilot lift. I still envision these as being difficult to pick up and steal given the sight lines, but I guess could camera work and field traffic strategy may be able to negate that. The ceiling for useful complementary technologies to a gear floor pickup is quite high.

Each alliance will have 21 gears available (18 from loading station + 3 from autonomous). An alliance would have to drop 10 gears before they would need the floor pickup to finish the airship.

Having seen what method many teams are using for holding gears, I don’t expect alliances to drop enough gears to make sacrificing other aspects worth having the ground pickup. It will cost packaging space and build time, things that could be used to make or improve a shooter, climber, hopper, or fuel pickup. Assuming that it’s faster than getting a gear from the human player, it also makes an easy target for defense while picking up a gear anywhere other than the loading station.

From a timing aspect, while it takes less time to actually intake a gear from the human player, the time you waste driving there and back pretty much makes up for that. That, combined with the fact that a gear dropped in front of a lift may effectively disable that lift, makes being able to pick up gears from the ground a nice ability. My team is not prioritizing this because we are already doing a lot of other things, but I definitely think this will be a favorable attribute come alliance selection.

I think the during quake a robot that can pick up gears off the ground will be fairly valuable due to robots dropping Hera’s in bad places. This will become less useful in elims or district champs due to team’s refining their holders and deployers and practicing deploying gears for at least 2 comps. The ground pickup may not be needed at all in later elims assuming that the robot with ground pickup can also accept Hera’s from the station without having to have them drop out.

At low levels gears will be dropped, but it won’t be worth the time for a low level robot to attempt to pick up the gears.
At a medium level, gears will be occasionally dropped and an intake might be valuable.
At high levels gears will rarely be dropped, and might be valuable to be picked up by high level robots, but it’s doubtful.

Gear pick ups might be valuable at some lower level regionals that are carried by medium-high teams, but that is the only situation I see them maybe being viable.

We are not doing a lot of other things. Low, fast, strong pushing, stable, and focused on quick gears. Climbing as well, but no FUEL. We’ve often made the mistake of holding on to the dream of doing it all in the first week of designing, but this year we were able to let it go, and be at peace with our limitations. Personally, I’m very glad that we did.


We racked our brains on this one, but we couldn’t justify the space commitment in our strategy. So we won’t go from floor to peg, but we may come up with a way to escort floor gears closer for a partner that can.

I wonder how gear pickups will work when the gear is supported by the sea of fuel…


I do expect that we will need to practice clearing dropped gears from in front of the chutes. And lifts.

I will add that we figured out sufficient geometry to incorporate both a floor GEAR pickup and a FUEL hopper into the robot, though we are forgoing FUEL altogether. My point is that it wouldn’t be impossible to do both.

I hope to see some ground intakes for gears, combined with an intake for fuel. I think it’s very possible and very useful.

I’m going to keep an eye on you! :slight_smile: Good luck

So, this is probably my big mistake of the year, but I think if your team is capable of it and has the resources to do it, picking up gears off the ground is a competitive advantage.

It has nothing to do with autonomous mode - scoring multiple gears in auton is foolish. Scoring more than 10 balls is both much easier (in that you can repeatably do it without any assistance) and much more rewarding.

It also doesn’t have much to do with picking up your own dropped gears. That shouldn’t happen - if you’re a team good enough to build an elite ground pickup you’ll figure out how to score them consistently. If you are the kind of team who constantly drops gears… well… your ground pickup won’t likely be good anyway.

The key advantage is that if it’s truly a touch it, own it intake, you’re going to be able to cycle without stopping and waiting. The human player drops the gear 2 seconds before your robot drives past, your robot flies through and sucks in the gear, and you’ve shaved a second or two off each cycle.

Additionally, if your partners are able to drop gears, you can be the gear-scoring specialist on an alliance who stays near the pegs placing gears on them while shooting oriented robots spend a greater percentage of their time shooting balls into the high goal.

That said, I don’t think it is a big enough advantage to justify doing if you haven’t figured out a simple solution. And you should have a human player based backup design ready to bolt on if it doesn’t work like you want to. If it’s slower than driving into the wall and getting it from the human player, it’s a waste.

We’re looking at integrating a gear pickup into our fuel intake. Have some concepts we’re toying with now, but it might require a redesign to everything above our chassis :ahh:

I’m going to stop being coy like I was in the autonomous thread, and lay out exactly why I think you’re wrong here. At the highest levels of play, we will see 2-gear autonomous modes. Stop thinking about it in terms of how many points an individual robot can score in autonomous, and start thinking about how you can maximize your alliances’ autonomous score.

Let’s start with the following assumptions:
*The alliance is composed is two “high functionality” autonomous teams (scoring hopper fuel, scoring multiple gears, or scoring both pre-loaded fuel and pre-loaded gear) and one “average functionality” autonomous team (scoring pre-loaded fuel or scoring single gear).
*Time and travel restrictions will it impossible for multiple robots on the same alliance to complete a hopper scoring autonomous with sufficient time to process scored fuel
*Time and travel restrictions will make it impossible for the same team to score BOTH it’s pre-loaded gear AND the hopper fuel
*It’s not possible for the same robot to place 3 gears on a lift with sufficient time to start 2 rotors before the end of autonomous

Based on those four assumptions, the highest scoring combination of three routines would be as follows:
Robot A - Drops pre-loaded gear, loads from hopper, scores in high efficiency goal
Robot B - Places pre-loaded gear on lift, picks up Robot A’s gear, places Robot A’s gear on lift
Robot C- Places pre-loaded gear on lift

The 20 bonus points from starting an additional rotor in autonomous is worth twice as many points as either Robot B or Robot C scoring their pre-loaded fuel in the high efficiency boiler with 100% accuracy. This is precisely why I think we’re going to see a handful of alliances at the DCMP/CMP level employ 2-gear autonomous routines.

I also don’t think I agree with this.

To make it to the highest levels of play, any gear specialist will need to account for even those 5%-of-the-time scenarios. There are plenty of those ‘rare’ scenarios, so there is a low likelihood of experiencing the ideal case for every gear in a match. Therefore a gear specialist will need a ground intake to maximize value.

Think about it. It’s finals. There’s a gear on the ground in next to the HP feeder station. The robot gets fed a gear from the feeder station and inadvertently pushes the gear on the ground a few inches towards its airship during the trip back. BAM - referee raises the flag [G27] Multi-Gear possession]( Since it accidentally moved in a strategic manner towards the airship, the question of a YELLOW CARD comes up with the head referee. YMTC.

Still want to ignore gears on the ground as an alliance?

Plus, if you add 900’s gear tracking vision system, a 2-gear autonomous is all but guaranteed. :smiley: Not only is a 2-gear auton about the potential for 20 more points, it also saves time - arguably the most valuable resource to high levels of play in any FRC game.

Can you talk to my team? They decided we are going to try to make our robot capable of of performing every task (including defense :]) . So far this season we have only met three times a week, and we start assembling our chassis tomorrow! (Late week 3 is the perfect time to finally start building our world class robot, right?? :yikes: )

Kudos to 1339 for what IMO is a great strategy.