What did your team win Innovation in Control or Autonomous Awards for?
I’ll let others comment on specifics, but something that is overlooked is how/what you present to judges. You need to make sure that your entire team can speak intelligently about your programming/sensor strategy and then have select people that can talk through the technical details. Every question that they ask, you need to be circling back what you did, why, how you tested and iterated, and explain the benefits. Finally, actions are louder than words: demonstrate in the pits and in your matches and the judges will take notice.
Making sure everyone is on the same page can lead to one message being presented to the judges, “consider us for X award”.
I am from team 4028, the Beak Squad, in order, these are the awards that we won:
- 2016 - Buckeye Regional - Innovation in Controls
- 2017 - Greater Pittsburgh Regional - Innovation in Controls
- 2018 - Miami Valley Regional - Innovation in Controls
- 2018 - Darwin Division - Autonomonous Award
As a member of our Controls Team, there has been, more recently, a concentrated efort on best preparing ourselves for these awards. Outside of the coding or wiring practices that earned us awards, just like @JustJoshin13 said, we prepared for how we presented to the judges. We had a nearly 20 page packet documenting controls and mechanical aspects fo the robot to give to the judges that they could refer back to in their deliberation. We also planned which students in the Pits would talk to the judges about what parts of the controls system (Closed Loop systems, fail safes built into the code, autonomous programming an routines).
Anyway, the aspects of our controls system that we generally highlight in our presentations are as follows:
- How clean our wiring is - This seems like a stupid thing to talk about, but having a clean, organized, and professional looking wiring job goes a long way to demonstrate the high level of your controls system. We use tons of zip ties and HeliTube (https://www.mmnewman.com/products/heli-tube-spiral-wrap-abrasion-protector?___store=mmn) to clean up our wiring. Also everything (RoboRio, Motor Controlers, PDP, etc.) are all hard mounted with screws. We also use PowerPole connectors for reliability (We have had problems with Molex)
- PID Subsystems - The award is not entirely about being unique (although it helps to be), but is more about being able to clearly articulate and describe the controls system. Our robot always has PID subsytems on it (Ignoring Chassis/Motion Profiling w/ Auton). Last year this included an elevator and Infeed Arms (Both Motion Magic)
- Auton - Ooofff… I will do my best to describe this but I am not on the Auton Coding Team so I am not as in tune with that part of our code. I know that the student that built almost the entirely of our auton code took elements from 254 and other’s code and fit it to be our own. During the presentation to judges in the pits though, we more highlight the reliability and adaptability of our autons (How many different paths we have and what %reliability each one has). We also highlighted that we were the first team to perform a successful two scale auton in competition (Week 1 - Miami Valley). While the judges are looking for your team to be able to explain how their auton works, they also want to knwo that it actually works a good amount of the time.
Reply if you have any more questions, but I hope that this helps in your quest to get these awards!!!