Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
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Official Q&A: VRC 2020-2021: Change Up

Usage Guidelines All Questions

Tetherbots and R1

9 months ago

A team has a main robot and a tethered minibot. For skills matches the team disconnects the minibot and uses only the main robot. Is this a violation of rule R1, specifically R1c?

R1c states "Teams may not switch back and forth between multiple Robots during a competition. This includes using different Robots for Skills Challenge, Qualification and/or Elimination Matches"

Answered by Game Design Committee

The Subsystem definitions in R1 read as follows:

• Subsystem 1: Mobile robotic base including wheels, tracks, legs, or any other mechanism that allows the Robot to navigate the majority of the flat playing field surface. For a stationary Robot, the robotic base without wheels would be considered Subsystem 1.

• Subsystem 2: Power and control system that includes a legal VEX battery, a legal VEX control system, and associated motors for the mobile robotic base.

• Subsystem 3: Additional mechanisms (and associated motors) that allow manipulation of game objects or navigation of field obstacles

Given the above definitions, a minimum Robot for use in any VEX Robotics Competition event (including Skills Challenges) must consist of 1 and 2 above. Thus, if you are swapping out an entire subsystem of either item 1 or 2, you have now created a second Robot and are no longer legal.

It is always difficult to provide a blanket answer based on a snapshot description of a hypothetical design. For this to be legal, inspectors and Head Referees should make the following decisions:

  1. If the "minibot" portion of your Robot is not considered Subsystem 1 or Subsystem 2 of your Robot (i.e. it is not the "mobile robotic base").
  2. If Subsystems 1 and 2 are not swapped out when changing between configurations.

If these conditions are met, and the "minibot" can therefore be interpreted as Subsystem 3, then this would be a legal configuration change. At this point, the Robot would be subject to R3, which discusses Robots with multiple functional configurations.

<R3> Robots must pass inspection. Every Robot will be required to pass a full inspection before being cleared to compete. This inspection will ensure that all robot rules and regulations are met. Initial inspections will take place during team registration/practice time.

a. Significant changes to a Robot, such as a partial or full swap of Subsystem 3, must be re-inspected before the Robot may compete again.

b. All possible functional Robot configurations must be inspected before being used in competition.