Control System Update

Feb 25, 2020 Written by Kate Pilotte, Senior Kit of Parts Manager, FIRST Robotics Competition.




We let the community know in this blog that the current control system hardware (National Instruments’ roboRIO, Cross the Road Electronics’ PDP, VRM, & PCM, and Open Mesh/Datto’s radio) will be in play through the 2021 season. This system has served and continues to serve FIRST and FIRST Robotics Competition teams well; we’re grateful to these Suppliers for their support in making the control system versatile, robust, and well-supported.

2022 is rapidly approaching, so we wanted to provide an update on progress toward the next chapter for the FRC control system.

FIRST distributed a Request for Proposal last year and is excited to announce that the 2022 system Suppliers have been selected. We received cooperative proposals from National Instruments and REV Robotics that complement FIRST’s technical needs and mission, and we’re happy to announce that the 2022-2026 system will consist of a revised roboRIO from National Instruments (increased RAM and flash memory, improved low-voltage protection, and a higher-speed grade Zynq processor) and support boards being developed by REV Robotics. Additionally, the WPILib Control System Team has committed to continue to support and evolve WPILib. The next system is being planned to maintain compatibility with current devices, and decisions about legality of existing devices will be made and communicated once details on pricing, availability, technical ramifications, etc. are finalized.

One the wireless side, we continue to work towards a radio solution for 2022 and beyond and will share more details in the future.  

We are so grateful to NI, REV, and WPI for the past, continued, and future support. These organizations have demonstrated their commitment to inspiring students in science and technology, are collaborative and engaging partners, and care deeply about the team experience.

This blog is meant to be just a general update; there will be more information shared as details are finalized re: feature set, pricing, alpha & beta testing plans, distribution expectations, etc. Stay tuned, and good luck this season!

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How would a team sign up for doing the beta testing for this new hardware?  My team is very interested in it.  Also, would the hardware architecture resemble the current one?  I.E. Rio, PDP, PCM, VRM.  Why is CTRE no longer providing the expansion boards?  Will there be major changes/differences in the software architecture?  Will the new software be backwards compatible with the old RIOs?  It would be shame to go from 4 working robots/chassis to a single RIO again until we can build up the funds to purchase new sets.  

Great to hear your team is interested in beta testing! I know many in the community are thirsty for details, but we haven't published details on the hardware, topology, or when/how to sign up for testing, but will, so stay tuned to the FRC Blog. 

Is this just a higher speed version of the current Zynq 7020 SoC with its ARM A9 cores, or are they moving to one of the UltraScale+ parts with ARM A53 cores?

We haven't published details on the hardware, but will, so stay tuned to the FRC Blog. 

Is FRC still on track to change the Control System hardware next season??

Hi Mr. Sochanski. Thank you for the question. No, the rollout has been postponed. This blog from September elaborates on that, and hopefully it addresses your question more fully.

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