What should a low bot have in 2020

Inspired by this thread:
If there is a low scoring bot, what should it have to be super competitive?

We’ve already said:

  • Score all 3 PC during Auto
  • Score Fast and Efficient
  • Be able to hold 5 and only 5 PC

What else? I’m thinking:

  • Trench
  • Floor pickup (depending on reliability)

How many full field cycles should an excellent low bot have? The time per cycle?

P.S. Let’s try to keep other aspects of the game out of this thread.

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Well, that depends on the context of the low bot. Are you talking about an alliance captain at a weak event, a third robot at a strong event, a third robot at a weak event?

Think of this thread as the converse: what should a tall bot have in 2020? That’s not an answerable question because there will be top teams that are high and top that are low. There will be bottom teams that are high and bottom teams that are low.

It’s open ended. Being an alliance captain, 1st pick, 2nd pick, 3rd pick, doesn’t matter. I’ll take any answer. Schedules aren’t made perfect and some teams can get carried up. Or a team gets really unlucky and finds themselves with the most difficult schedule.

Only what?

Only what???

Edit: I can sleep easy now, thanks

The best low bots (Lower Port only) will be able to effectively feed high bots (Outer/Inner Port capability) to the point where high bots don’t ever need to cross the field.

This could involve driving through the Trench, but doesn’t have to. More than likely this involves the ability to eject balls with some force out onto the ground to be picked up near the goal by a high bot.

All bots must be reliable climbers. Similarly, for a low bot to be drafted they’ll need to have the ability to play stellar, situational defense with smart driving. I don’t particularly care about the number of balls a low bot can put into the Lower Port… only how efficiently they can move balls across the field to my top scorer.


Super competitive you say?

  • Faster than an AM14U4 in stock form. (How fast? I’m not sure. But being able to outrun opponents is clutch.)
  • Yeet levels of ball exit speed, both for faster cycle times and for being able to clear balls from the area near the alliance station (which should starve opponents).
  • Autonomous options:
    • Score low
    • Dump into a partner (on delay)
    • Get two more balls using the trench run or generator switch (in case the partners have a compelling auto that creates a traffic jam)
    • Shove a scrub-tier no-auto robot off the initiation line.
  • Hangs, and expediently.
  • Trench run clearance, and probably a way to manipulate the control panel. Still not 100% sold there.
  • Smart driving that avoids fouls.

I completely agree with your parameters. These are the design characteristics that we’ve been using to fine-tune our design. In the spirit of open design, here’s what we’ve been thinking:

  • A very fast six-wheel drive with a ball-shifting gearbox, producing a top speed of 20-21fps in high gear.
  • A wide box-style PC mechanism with full width roller intake and output that can pull in three PCs simultaneously and output a full load of five in less than a second, designed to take PCs from the floor or the upper feed slot. It will also project all five with enough force to send them downfield quickly to feed an allied shooter.
  • An set of autonomous modes that can either:
    • Score the initial three and then move to collect five from the alliance trench. or
    • Drop the initial three and run the opponent’s trench to collect the five PCs, back out of the trench, and deliver the PCs to the goal.
  • A quick and reliable climb with the ability to take any position (including the center.)
  • The ability to run the trench.
  • A reliable and automated Control Panel mechanism that will spin the wheel at close to it’s maximum allowed speed.
  • A low gear on the drive train that is very well suited to defense and pushing other robots around. With our height less than 28" and our CoG very low to the ground (almost all heavy components are at or below frame level) we should be an excellent defensive robot.

The smart driving will be up to my drive team, but they’ve been excellent at avoiding fouls in the past couple of years, so their experience (and that of our younger drivers coming up) should let them maximize their effect while minimizing fouls.

We’ve basically aimed for a design that allows us flexibility in our roles, but will be able to execute them all with high effectiveness.

In general, you’re right. The one quibble I have is with the idea that low goal scoring won’t be as important. I think that the requirements for getting the stage 3 rank point will probably require that a low goal specialist do some dumping of PCs into the goal to gain the needed numbers. It’s possible this will be rendered moot at the very highest levels of play, but in most district and regional events (and even most DCMPs) I doubt that two high goal shooters will be able to produce the required numbers fast enough, even being fed by a fast low bot.

I understand that to increase speed, you can adjust changes by

  • Different motors
  • 2 speed gearbox
  • Permanent 1 speed gearbox ratio swap (from stock to a faster one), resulting in less torque

How do you test the speed of the KitBot? We currently have the 4 Cims hooked up to the Toughbox Mini. No electronics though.

I would like to further emphasize climbing. Climbing is above floor pickup and holding only 5 gamepieces in my book when looking to pick a low bot. Please try to climb. Did I mention I like climbs?


I agree that low port dumping won’t be needed or too helpful at late events. I believe that it’s gonna take longer for a robot to go all the way across the field to dump low vs a robot shooting 5 in 2 sec or so from half way across the field.

I’d use ILITE’s drivetrain simulator, because unless you do something truly silly (say, atrocious gearbox assembly) the estimates will be on target.

You’ll need to figure out how far your robot is going to sprint, which is based on strategy. We bet on 20-foot sprints last year pretty accurately, and it’s probably not super wrong this year. But if you’re envisioning driving back and forth between the loading and target zones all match, maybe you do something different. And if those numbers are looking like a wash, try the 5-foot sprints and see if one option looks better there.

If we’re talking Saturday at Championship, sure I expect lower low-goal scoring (not zero, but less of it). But a well-executed, low-goal-oriented robot can be very valuable for defense (both blocking and steal-and-yeets) in that same scenario.

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I agree that low port dumping won’t be needed or too helpful at late events.

However if you can dump in the low goal, how many excellent shooters will you encounter which will have hoppers at the right height for you to dump into? Could be a valid support bot strategy for them to get 3/4 court shots lined up and for you to reload them.

Note to those going low: fast doesn’t necessarily require more/better motors or a different gear ratio. A half-legal-weight otherwise stock drive train is fast, especially if you have a low CoG and a bunch of driver hours to learn how to use it.


and if you make that light, zippy robot, you can bump the gearing speed up and still accelerate OK without brownouts)

Could not agree more. I can’t see a bot without a climber get picked over one that does (assuming equal reliability), or even making elims at most events. The climb will most likely play a similar role to climbing in 2017. Besides that, I would really try to make the push to get the outer port. Even if you can only hold 3, it’s worth. I’d even go a far as saying that just holding 2 and going for the outer port is better than going for the low goal.

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