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

Usage Guidelines All Questions

Blocking Maneuvers & Definition of Elevating


As per <SG11> Elevation is protected. During the last 30 seconds of the Match, Robots may not contact the following:

The opposing Alliance’s Elevation Bars Opponent Robots who are contacting their Elevation Bars Opponent Robots who meet the definition of Elevated The Short Barriers adjacent to the opposing Alliance's Elevation Bars. Violation Notes:

Regarding points “a” and “d”: If no opponent Robots are in the process of Elevating, then most incidental or momentary contact is unlikely to be Match Affecting, and should only be considered a Minor Violation.

If a Violation results in opponent Robot damage, or otherwise impedes an opponent’s Elevation, then it should be assumed that they would have reached the highest possible Elevation Tier when determining Match Affecting implications. The intent of this rule is to prevent potentially damaging defensive interactions with Robots who are in the process of Elevating. Indirect contact may also be considered a Minor or Major Violation of <G1>, <G13>, or <SG11> at the Head Referee’s discretion. This could include actions such as:

After finding additional posts on SG11, we have revised our original questions. It appears that according to this post,, parking a robot to block your opponent’s access to elevation or short barrier is allowed provided they do not contact the elevation bar or short barrier in the process. The blocking robot is also protected from violation if the opponent pushed the robot into the low barrier while trying to elevate. Post states that “whether a Robot’s actions are defensive or offensive is irrelevant to determining whether or not they violated rule”.

Which of the following defensive blocking maneuvers would be considered legal:

  1. A 4 wheel robot parks itself in the last 35 seconds across the low barrier without making contact to the low barrier once parked.

  2. A robot drives up the low barrier and parks itself on the low barrier during the last 30 seconds making constant contact with the low barrier. None of the opponents' robots are in the processing of elevating at the time when the robot parked.

  3. 2 opposing robots race towards the elevation bar during the last 30 seconds with constant contact between the 2 robots. The robot attempting to block their opponent is on the inside, closest to the short barrier. When they reached the short barrier, the blocking robot touches the low barrier while the opponent’s robot is in contact with the blocking robot.

Our interpretation based on the current rule and posts from the Q&A is that #1 would be permitted without penalty as it does not violate SG11 and cannot be forced into penalty as per G15. Any attempt by the opponents to dislodge the blocking robot would not result in any violations. One side of the elevation would be effectively blocked.

#2 is unclear as it would only incur a minor violation for contacting the low barrier during the last 30 seconds since none of the opponent’s robot is in the process of elevating. But would this be considered a repeated minor violation due to constant contact with the low barrier and become a major violation if matching effecting.

For #3, if there was benefit of the doubt we would assume the call would be ruled in favor of the robot attempting to hang. However, it seems there is no benefit of the doubt it when it comes to elevating so it would be in clear favour of any defensive bot blocking access to elevation bar or low barrier as most likely there would be constant contact between 2 battling robots. Any violations of SG11 would be extremely difficult to call as the defending robot would be protected by G15.

Lastly, we would like clarification on the definition of “in the process of elevating”. Does the definition of elevating mean when a robot’s lifting mechanism actually starts to lift the robot or when a robot is starting the elevation routine, such as raising hanging mechanism or driving to it’s elevating position, or really only counts when it also touches the elevation bar.

Thank you.

Answered by committee

We’ll address your scenarios in order:

  1. Assuming the Robot in your scenario does not contact any of the items made off-limits by the clauses of rule <SG11> during the final 30 seconds of the Match, there are no rules preventing this, therefore it is legal.
  2. The first Violation Note for <SG11> specifies that (bold added for emphasis), “Regarding points “a” and “d”: If no opponent Robots are in the process of Elevating, then most incidental or momentary contact is unlikely to be Match Affecting, and should only be considered a Minor Violation.” In your scenario, the contact is neither incidental nor momentary, and would very likely be deemed a Major Violation by the Head Referee. However, the final judgment call and any penalty would have to consider the full context of the Match.
  3. In this scenario, the Head Referee’s judgment call would have to consider whether or not the contact with the opponent’s Short Barrier was incidental or momentary as described in the Violation Note described in scenario 2.

Regarding your request for a clarification of the definition of “in the process of elevating” as used in the first Violation Note of <SG11>: a Robot that is in the process of elevating will generally be trying to climb onto the Barrier on their side of the Neutral Zone or be in contact with one of their Elevation Bars. However, this determination can only be made by the Head Referee within the larger context of the Match, and we cannot provide a blanket answer that encompasses all possible situations.