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Autonomous Mode Train wreck forthcoming? Why debris? FRC would not allow this

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  • Autonomous Mode Train wreck forthcoming? Why debris? FRC would not allow this

    Dear FTC Forum,

    Greetings! Is there an autonomous mode train wreck forthcoming when I attend our first MI FTC qualifier?

    Let me explain. As a 10 year FRC veteran I have never had to program autonomous to drive over debris.
    In fact, my gut tells me that the FRC teams would be outraged over such a proposal.

    Yet, in my second year of FTC we have to program with a new control system multiple autonomous paths
    over debris purposely introduced.

    Am I missing something about FTC? Why wouldn't FTC allow successful autonomous driving without debris? At a minimum
    why not delay the introduction of debris for those world championship caliber teams to demonstrate their
    ability while letting the other 99 percent of us focus on the low hanging fruit? Wouldn't the crowds be more pleased
    in watching robots successfully navigate the playing field than watch them get tangled up in randomly
    introduced debris?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this important matter,

    Best regards,
    Marc Center FTC8927 Head Coach / Eng Mentor Royal Oak, MI

  • #2
    Originally posted by FTC8927 View Post
    Dear FTC Forum,

    Greetings! Is there an autonomous mode train wreck forthcoming when I attend our first MI FTC qualifier?

    Let me explain. As a 10 year FRC veteran I have never had to program autonomous to drive over debris.
    In fact, my gut tells me that the FRC teams would be outraged over such a proposal.

    Yet, in my second year of FTC we have to program with a new control system multiple autonomous paths
    over debris purposely introduced.

    Am I missing something about FTC? Why wouldn't FTC allow successful autonomous driving without debris? At a minimum
    why not delay the introduction of debris for those world championship caliber teams to demonstrate their
    ability while letting the other 99 percent of us focus on the low hanging fruit? Wouldn't the crowds be more pleased
    in watching robots successfully navigate the playing field than watch them get tangled up in randomly
    introduced debris?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this important matter,

    Best regards,
    Its all part of the game. Look at past games. We have had debris on the floor during autonomous in the past. Teams need to design for this. We are. Everyone has the ability to build a bot that can traverse maze of debris, the students just need to think it up.
    2015 FTC World Champion - Valley X Robotics 2844 - Founding Memeber

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm feeling contradictory. I have been in FTC since 2007, and there has never been debris on the floor UNLESS some robot put it there. I don't count the block debris carefully placed in the corner from Block Party.
      Someone at HQ was not thinking ahead. This year's game is mechanically very difficult. In addition, we have a brand new control system. Also, the brand new control system was rolled out to teams VERY LATE, and we get updates regularly. And now we get to learn to navigate a new website in the middle of the season.
      Loud scream.
      I always thought it was ironic that the big bots had the shortest autonomous and rarely was the autonomous score significant in the game. FTC games can often be won or lost in autonomous. FLL is strictly autonomous.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by NEOFTC View Post
        ....This year's game is mechanically very difficult. In addition, we have a brand new control system. Also, the brand new control system was rolled out to teams VERY LATE, and we get updates regularly. And now we get to learn to navigate a new website in the middle of the season.
        Loud scream...
        *Off topic*

        I agree that their role out of everything this year has been less than spectacular. Everything is focused on FRC now for FIRST. FTC gets the bread crumbs.

        1) Site was launched before the FRC season starts, to get them use to it... While FTC folk scramble to find stuff, as well as broken Official Q&A questions that have been answer, no longer go to the correct links within FIRST.
        2) Logo changes, after FTC teams have already printed shirts and banners with the "old" logo.
        3) FRC had a new system last year, with a simple game to test the system out. (Split field)
        4) FTC has a new system this year, with the hardest, and most roughest game I have ever seen.
        5) The role out of this system has been horrible. Boards don't work, a company that wont release the serial numbers affected, and a complete system built off of USBs, while we continued to have problems with the one and only USB on the Samantha in years past. (USBs aren't ment to have all this vibration and trama.)
        6) Every Module keeps running out of stock..... what did you expect...
        7) FTC was kicked out of the Dome at Worlds to make room for more FRC teams. Placed into the Union station, with little to no time to visit FRC. Only time that we could visit, and not miss something, was the day they were being inspected. (I would love it even if we could move back into the Event center, even if it ment that our main fields were in the Center, instead of the dome... at least we are with FRC.) (The Union station made worlds fell like another, worse run Super Regional) (Not enough space)

        *Off Topic*

        Post reflects my opinion, not my teams.
        2015 FTC World Champion - Valley X Robotics 2844 - Founding Memeber

        Comment


        • #5
          There have been objects on the field in the past for autonomous. They started in pre-defined positions, but this rapidly changed in autonomous. One of the goals for auto in Hot Shot was to dump wiffle balls out of the tubes mounted on the corners of the field. Most teams that did this just let them spill onto the floor. In Get Over It, there were moveable goals and tilting ramps for auto. I think the worst was Bowled Over. Once a robot spilled the racquetballs, there were balls everywhere. These balls were very hard to drive through without proper protection on the robot. But for all of these challenges, teams managed. The random placement just adds a bit more of a challenge. It shouldn't be too hard to devise a system to legally clear balls and blocks from a robot's path, the teams just need to decide that it is important to them.

          Comment


          • #6
            Might be easier to figure out how to move around this game with the debris if we had years of experience programming this new system... or if the new electronics worked reliably... or we could communicate with first better. But none of that is the case! We HAVE to learn an entirely new system for programming our robots. With Electronics that fail all the time. Over tons of random debris and make our robot go over mountains and hang itself... then just as everyone realized the problems with FTC this year... FIRST Releases a new website thats only useful for a brand new team just starting out. It is not good idea to do all of that in one single season... Especially if you want to attract newcomers.
            I gotta say any team that has no problems this year is either lying or the most brilliant technological minds on the planet!

            Comment


            • #7
              I totally agree that, taken as a whole, this years game design is way over the line as far as difficulty, and even veteran overachieving teams, along with most inexperienced teams are competing with rather suprisingly weak, on-the-field performing robots.
              Then when you add in the additional challenge of learning the new electronics system (with the quirky USB issues) and for many teams - learning a new programming environment as well - this has become a real triple whammy situation for to many teams.
              Even veteran mentor engineers appear to be struggling this year.

              The fact that the kit of parts options are so poor for designing/building an effective drive train to handle the field debris aspect in autonomous is also a BIG slap in the face to young teams that do not build with a lot of custom ordered H/W items.

              That said, our team decided early on to do custom made (shaped) wheels, using large and narrow (5/16" wide) plastic wheels with a 6" initial diameter that allowed for a drive train that could drive over the debris with minimum disruption to our bots travel path, especially once we got our gyro working. This custom wheel effort did really eat up a lot more than usual amount of time for wheel and drive train prototyping, designing, building, testing, rebuilding, and tuning before we finally ended up with one of the best climbing wheeled robots we have seen. We only just got serious about our autonomous prototyping over the last week or so, and finally today we will be using our initial autonomous programing results in a real competition environment.

              This initial effort at driving accurately in autonomous, even with a drivetrain that is exceptionally good, has proven to be very difficult from both the amount and the inconsistent random distribution of the debris, and with two different sizes and shapes to deal with, the challenge is even further intensified and complicated. I expect that a majority of FTC teams have experienced, at least briefly, the feeling of being rather overwhelmed and frustrated by this year's FTC game design.

              We felt this too, and when we finally did have some success with our drive train, we decided to fully reveal it online, hoping it could help other frustrated teams.
              shin PICs below and at our youtube channel → "Robotheosis" {FTC 3507} We will have some autonomous competition video posted in a couple days

              Initial;y learning how to climb
              LINK → https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjm..._AvhKPH9CHiI5g
              Better climbing results after some practice
              LINK → https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsOTYCp9CJM





              -Dick Ledford
              Last edited by RRLedford; 01-30-2016, 10:14 AM.
              -Dick Ledford, 2010-16 Former Mentor - 3507 Robotheosis

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