In the immediate aftermath of FIRST’s announcement to replay Infinite Recharge in 2021, I’ve already heard a number of different teams say they’re excited to get back to work on their 2020 robots in preparation for 2021.
I’d like to caution against this idea for a number of reasons, especially if you’re planning on working on your 2020 robot to gain a competitive advantage for 2021.
FIRST is liable to change the game such that your existing robot won’t be able to play it as is. Nobody knows what changes they will make, and any resources spent between now and 2021’s kickoff would be speculative that FIRST doesn’t change the game significantly, and allows teams to reuse their 2020 robots. These things can probably be assumed due to FIRST’s apparent efforts to conserve resources, but they’re not guaranteed.
In an effort to conserve resources, it might be best for most teams to minimize the amount of money they spend on their 2020 robot. Money will be harder to come by in the post COVID-19 economy. Sponsors will be tightening their belts, which means FRC teams need to do the same.
This all may be a moot point since we have no idea when teams will be allowed into their schools to resume their “normal activities”. The answer to that question will also be different depending on your region and the state of the virus.
There’s also the fact that we aren’t even sure if the 2021 season will occur…
If you’re complying with local safety recommendations, and you’re aware of the fact that any work you do on your 2020 robot has the potential to be wasted effort when it comes to the 2021 season, then it may make sense to continue work on your 2020 robot. It’s still a great learning/training tool for your team.
If you do plan to work on your 2020 robot, I strongly suggest that you spend your resources with FRC specific suppliers who are certainly going to be impacted by this decision as much or more than anybody. Support them so they can be around to support our program.