Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
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Official Q&A: VRC 2023-2024: Over Under

Usage Guidelines All Questions

Does SG10b trump SG10?


WISCO
30-Jan-2024

At previous tournaments when two robots contact in the neutral zone, and either of those robots cross the autonomous line, it has been ruled that the robot who owns the offensive zone will win autonomous. This reasoning is supported by subrule SG10b which determines that the offensive robot will receive “benefit of the doubt” when a head referee needs to make a judgement call. However, rule <SG10> states “Enter the Neutral Zone during Autonomous at your own risk. Any Robot who engages with the Neutral Zone during the Autonomous Period should be aware that opponent Robots may also choose to do the same. Per G11 and G12, Teams are responsible for the actions of their Robots at all times.” It is made clear by this rule that when entering the Neutral Zone you assume the risk of robot interaction. It is also stated that teams are responsible for the actions of their Robots at all times. Interpreting the rule in this way would mean that when opposing robots make legal contact with one another in the neutral zone, any action by either robot after the contact would be the sole responsibility of the corresponding robot. Which of the preceding interpretations is correct?

Please consider which team would be penalized in the following scenarios:

  1. A red and blue robot collide in the neutral zone of the red offensive zone. The red robot coincidentally pushes the blue robot across the autonomous line causing a violation.

  2. A red and blue robot collide in the neutral zone of the red offensive zone. 10 seconds after the contact, due to the shift of position caused by the legal collision, the red robot independently crosses the autonomous line.

  3. A red and blue robot collide in the neutral zone of the red offensive zone. 10 seconds after the contact, due to the shift of position caused by the legal collision, the blue robot independently crosses the autonomous line.

Answered by committee
14-Feb-2024

We are not going to be able to provide a blanket answer to the three hypothetical situations that have been presented. However, we would like to provide some general guidance for how these types of situations should be handled, depending on the specific context of a given match / interaction.

First:

At previous tournaments when two robots contact in the neutral zone, and either of those robots cross the autonomous line, it has been ruled that the robot who owns the offensive zone will win autonomous.

This is a slightly oversimplified interpretation of SG10. The specific wording is as follows, with some portions bolded for emphasis:

a. If opposing Robots contact one another while both engaging with the Neutral Zone, and a possible <G13> violation results (i.e., damage, Entanglement, or tipping over), then a judgment call will be made by the Head Referee within the context of <G13> and <G14> just as it would if the interaction had occurred during the Driver Controlled Period.

b. In the context of <G14>, the Zones will always determine “offensive”/“defensive” roles during the Autonomous Period. For example, in Figure 33, the Robots are in the Blue Offensive Zone. Therefore, if an interaction occurred in the Neutral Zone that required a Head Referee judgment call, then Robot B1 would receive the “benefit of the doubt.”

Clause "b" of SG10 is intended to provide a "benefit of the doubt" tiebreaker for interactions which require a Head Referee judgment call beyond clause "a". If the interaction does not require a judgment call, it is not intended to be an automatic "get out of jail free" card. This could refer to interactions in which one Alliance is clearly at fault, as well as interactions which would clearly be a "no-call" if they had occurred during Driver Control.

(Disclaimer: Rules from previous Game Manuals should never be used as precedent for current games, unless clarified in the Q&A, which we are about to do)

VRC Tipping Point included the following clarification, which can also generally be applied to the Neutral Zone in VRC Over Under:

The Neutral Zone is intended to be a zone that Robots from both Alliances can utilize during the Autonomous Period. This will inevitably result in Robot-on-Robot interactions, both incidental and intentional. The overarching intent of <SG5> is for the vast majority of these interactions to result in no rule violations and / or penalties for either Alliance, just as no rules violations occur in 99% of Driver Controlled interactions.

Teams are responsible for the actions of their Robots at all times. A Robot with a small wheel base, who tips over every time they enter the Neutral Zone and contacts an opponent, should not attempt to claim a <G12> violation on their opponent.

With that being said, this is a Neutral Zone, not a “free-for-all” zone. The intent of point “e” is to provide Head Referees with the leeway to still make a judgment call, if needed, when a Team has chosen to exploit this rule beyond its intent. Reckless or unsafe strategies aimed solely at the destruction, damage, tipping over, Entanglement, Trapping, or forcing of an opponent into a penalty are still prohibited in the VEX Robotics Competition.