Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
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Official Q&A: VIQC 2019-2020: Squared Away

Usage Guidelines All Questions

Contradiction between <G6> and <G7>

David Sankey (Event Partner)

So there's <G6>

<G6> Two Drivers per Team. Each Team shall include two Drivers. No Driver may fulfill this role for more than one Team at any given event, or in a given season. Teams with only one Student in attendance at an event are granted an allowance to use another qualified Driver from the event. That Driver may now only drive for the team the Driver is subsuming in for, for the duration of the event. ...

And <G7>...

<G7> Drivers switch Controllers midway through the Match. In a given Match, no Driver shall operate a Robot for more than thirty-five (0:35) seconds. The two Drivers must switch their controller between twenty-five (0:25) seconds and thirty-five (0:35) seconds remaining in the Match. The second Driver may not touch his/her Team’s controls until the controller is passed to him/her. Once the controller is passed, the first Driver may no longer touch his/her Team’s controls. Note: If only one Driver is present (i.e. the Team has not exercised the allowance in <G6>), this rule still applies, and they must cease Robot operation after thirty-five (0:35) seconds.

<G6> says you have to have two... It says teams shall have two drivers, and gives them an out if only one kid shows up. <G7> says that teams don't have to follow <G6> and may proceed with one driver.

So, a couple of practical questions...

Why does <G6> say "shall include two drivers" when it's OK if they don't? Am I missing something?

For the 0:35, can it be that last or first 0:35 seconds? Or can the students start at 0:50 and end at 0:15?

Answered by Game Design Committee

We are going to begin by reminding everyone of G3:

<G3> Use common sense. When reading and applying the various rules in this document, please remember that common sense always applies in the VEX IQ Challenge.

Your first question was as follows:

Why does <G6> say "shall include two drivers" when it's OK if they don't? Am I missing something?

While the GDC is made up of a cross-functional team of educators, engineers, and former competitors, we admittedly do not have anyone with experience writing regulatory law. So, occasionally, a grammatical misunderstanding will slip through.

In determining how to respond to this question, we discovered this reference material from the FAA regarding usage of the word "shall":

Nearly every jurisdiction has held that the word "shall" is confusing because it can also mean "may, will or must." Legal reference books like the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure no longer use the word "shall." Even the Supreme Court ruled that when the word "shall" appears in statutes, it means "may." [...] "In most legal instruments, shall violates the presumption of consistency…which is why shall is among the most heavily litigated words in the English language."

In the future, we will look to avoid the word "shall" in favor of more clear verbiage such as "may", "must", or "must not".

To be clear:

  • The intent of G6 is to tell Teams that they must plan to have 2 Drivers, and that these Drivers are part of that Team for the entirety of the event and season.
  • The intent of G7 is to tell Teams that both Drivers need to drive for half of the Match.
  • The intent of the one-Driver exception in G7 is to acknowledge that occasionally, circumstances outside of a Team's control may arise where only one Driver is present (such as illness, inclement weather, etc), and to provide that Team with the opportunity to still compete on a comparable playing field as two-Driver Teams.
  • The intent of the Note in G7 is to acknowledge that some Teams may still elect not to utilize the exception provided, and prevent the scenario where making that choice provides them with a competitive advantage over two-Driver Teams.

For the 0:35, can it be that last or first 0:35 seconds? Or can the students start at 0:50 and end at 0:15?

The Driver switch occurs between 0:25 and 0:35 seconds into the Match. If there is no second Driver, then no switch will occur, and the single Driver will cease operation at the end of the Driver switch period, with 0:25 seconds left on the clock. Starting at 0:50 and ending at 0:15 (two times which have no audio cue) would create unnecessary confusion for Head Referees and is not within the intent of this rule.