Wow! A particularly useless non-answer to Q380 after a five day wait


#1

380 Are robots that fall to ground after a match, illegal?

Our bot is designed to hang off of the level 3 HAB and might drop off after a match ends if we can’t retrieve it for a few minutes. Will this be construed as unsafe under rule S1 and prevent us from passing inspection? We know you aren’t allowed to comment on specific designs, but S1 doesn’t address acts that happen after the match and we couldn’t find any rule that does. In prior years, robots have fallen to the ground after the match so we have assumed that this is ok but would like to be sure
asked 6 days ago by FRC 694

ROBOT SAFETY

Answer

You’re right, we cannot rule on ROBOT designs, and the final decision as to legality of a particular ROBOT lies with the Lead ROBOT Inspector (LRI) at each event. Generally, a ROBOT that lowers to the floor after being DISABLED is not considered unsafe; nor is a ROBOT which falls in an expected way based on the way it is suspended. FIELD Staff are encouraged to treat all ROBOTS which appear to be suspended in any way with caution and work with Teams to remove them from the FIELD in a safe way. On the other hand, there are ways that this can happen that are unsafe. For example, if the ROBOT moves quickly or unexpectedly once ALLIANCE partners are out on the FIELD retrieving their ROBOTS in a way that may surprise or injure them, you’re likely going to be required to remedy that hazard before being allowed to compete again.

S1 applies in this case because the hazardous condition will have been found ‘before the next MATCH’ (though immediately after the MATCH that just completed).


#2

Well what kinda of answer could they give? I think saying if it can hurt people it won’t be allowed is a perfectly reasonable statement and this doesn’t really warrant looking into it any further.


#3

My issue wasn’t so much the useless answer, as the amount of time it took. Anything over two days is usually accompanied by a rule change, or at least a blue box mod.


#4

I expect that Q&A responses that do not have an immediate effect on rules or modification of the manual will be delayed during events. I’d expect most answers to come between Sunday evenings and Wednesday mornings from now through the end of the season.


#5

I would expect very little, if any, Q&A updates during events. For one, they don’t want to blindside their event volunteers with mid-event updates. For another, they probably focus their efforts on supporting events, and don’t even look at the Q&A while doing so.


#6

The question was asked on Monday, ignored all during the work week, and answered uselessly on Sunday. The only publishable response I can come up with is … not really publishable as it turns out. Useless answers don’t affect competitions - please get them out promptly!


#7

I’d imagine the last minute changes and preparations for week one were more time sensitive and pressing issues than this question was and consultation to answer by the “Q&A Team” took a back seat.

The staff who answer these questions are also some of the same people who provide direct support to the events.


#8

The Q&A rate since Q380 has been 1.5 questions per day; Q380 was asked six days ago, and the most recent question is Q389. This is about a seventh the build season rate. If Q380 was due a non-answer (which I am ready to accept), it should at least have been delivered promptly.


#9

I agree that it is too long but it could just be that they forgot about it a bit. I don’t think that it’s super important or alarming. If this becomes repeated I’d be concerned but this is likely just a small mistake.


#10

You have to admit, you did ask a very cerebral question - it wasn’t one of those, “what do the rules have to say about XX” or “Can I do this stupid thing that I should have looked at the rules about first anyway?” And it’s not like robots haven’t climbed and fallen for years (you know, the “good” games) - but how do you answer a question about a robot that may randomly “fall” at any time when the robots are potentially that close together? In the webcast of Week 0 I saw a robot climb to level 3 on stilts and ever so slowly fell off at the end of the match - the team wanted to run out and save the robot, but the field reset crew held everyone back until the robot completely fell to the floor.

Someone who reads the Q&A quite religiously, I was satisfied by the answer. I can understand why you might not have been, since they told you nothing that you probably didn’t already know (edit: and it took several days longer than it traditionally has for most questions thus far), but it did help me understand how they view robots that climb or “are suspended” at the end of the match.


#11

Something tells me that GeeTwo, a retired mentor from Louisiana, did not ask the question for 694, who is based out of New York.

I fail to see how “your LRI can screw you at regional 1 and 3 but your champs LRI gives it a greenlight” is “satisfying.” This is more ambiguous than usual too.

For example, if the ROBOT moves quickly or unexpectedly once ALLIANCE partners are out on the FIELD retrieving their ROBOTS in a way that may surprise or injure them, you’re likely going to be required to remedy that hazard before being allowed to compete again. S1 applies in this case because the hazardous condition will have been found ‘before the next MATCH’ (though immediately after the MATCH that just completed).

Honestly, this can catch any bot thats midway though a climb when T=0. Maybe a running field reset person is enough to send a bot tipping in a semi-precarious spot, but it doesnt happen elsewhere. This QA basically gives the head ref the green light to say “thats unsafe” when a similar design that would have the same pitfall doesnt get called because some special situation doesnt happen to it.

I know GeeTwo already argued the time issue, but seriously for those who argued that, you can just look on the QA. Its abundantly clear this was answered much later than any of the others surrounding it.


#12

I’ll admit I didn’t look to see if GeeTwo had affiliation or was just ranting, so you got me for not doing my homework. I assumed the reason he cared was because he asked the question. Thanks for pointing that out.

I saw this as “satisfying” because the answer seemed fairly well thought-out. Any time a judgement call is made someone is going to feel screwed, that’s just the nature of judgement calls.

(1) Robots on the ground are safe. Nothing to worry about here.
(2) Robots that fall in predictable ways are fine. Nothing to worry about here either.
(3) Any robot that’s suspended warrants those around them to be extra careful.
(4) Robots that surprise others and fall randomly, those might require remedy.

Of course, robots that use suction may fall into category (4), especially if they fall when they reach a point where they’ve lost a certain amount of suction. It appears that the asker was trying to get the GDC to say that they were fine, but what they really did was say, “uh, well, if your robot does surprise nose dives you may have to fix that (i.e. make sure that isn’t a thing) before coming back out on the field.” And, I support that.