FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Summer Plans

May 16, 2024 Written by Collin Fultz, FIRST Robotics Competition Senior Director




Summers are typically a busy time for the FIRST® Robotics Competition staff, and summer 2024 is shaping up to be no exception. In addition to our “normal” summer activities, we’re also working through the process of identifying the future robot controller for FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST® Tech Challenge and preparing for the world-wide launch of the new robot radio that was used at the 2024 FIRST® Championship.

We’ve also assembled several task forces to work on specific topics. These task forces are modeled on the Playoff / Timeout Group that developed the Double Elimination Tournament in the summer of 2022. The task forces are comprised of program staff, partners, and community members (coaches, mentors, and volunteers).

The task forces are evaluating the following topics:

  • Bumpers
  • Field Robustness
  • Reducing Robot Speed & Energy
  • Alliance Selection Timing
  • Advancement to the FIRST Championship from Regional Events

Here’s where we want your help!

If you have ideas that you would like to submit to these groups for review, you can do so by using this form. There is an option on the form for you to include contact information in case the group wants to follow up with you. Contact information is optional and not required for your idea to be considered. Please submit feedback by Friday June 7 for consideration.

Thank you to everyone on these task forces for the time that you’re committing to help improve our program!

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Probably the easiest solution is to drop the number of motors rule and use current limiting breakers instead.  Have all the drive motors be limited to a specified total current that is limited by one or more breakers.

The obvious way, to me, for limiting available power is to limit the motors, not the current. The existing breakers allow double their peak current for an appreciable amount of time. It is really easy for a swerve drive robot without proper currently limiting to brown out during high-speed maneuvers. That indicates to me that the limitations should be on the power draw side (motor), not the power-delivery side (breaker).

Alliance Selection takes way too long for both regionals and especially district events.  Teams should have a knowledge of what they will be asked to do and have a list of teams ready to go to be picked. They also should be collaborating with their first pick in order to get their next pick made in a timely manner.

Suggestion is to have a time clock placed on the student making the selection of no more than 2:30 when the Emcee steps to them and asks them for their pick.  The only exception for this timer rule is to allow the 8th seed up to 4:00 minutes to decide who their third pick will be to give them a chance to collaborate with their 

I'd like to see the whole alliance allowed to go to the championship again. Of space is an issue at worlds, maybe don't let rookie all star advance before third pick or the engineering inspiration winner. 

I believe that FRC should revert to the previous 6 qualifying slots for each regional instead of 4. At the Bayou and Magnolia Regionals, both rookie all stars and the winning alliance second pick(it was the same at both regionals) all ended up qualifying for world via the priority waitlist. If the second picks and rookie all stars are going to get to go to worlds anyway, then revert it back to the old system so finalist captains and first picks have a chance to go to worlds. Our region isn't dense enough to be a district, but we are becoming more and more competitive. However, the best teams only have four chances to win under this new system assuming they are not in the running for Impact or EI. The district model allows teams to go to the championship by being good while not having to win. The regional system should understand that too. The current system is basically just removing the wild card bid because of the 2nd picks and rookies go to worlds anyway. 2nd place teams are competitive too, that's why they either made it through a winners bracket undefeated or made their way out of a loser's bracket. Reward them too. Sorry if this response was a bit jumbled and disoriented, I'm just passionate on this topic. I could give hypotheticals or examples from my experience of what teams I got to see qualify this year versus what teams I got to see rejected last year, but I do recognize that is circumstantial and probably not beneficial. I encourage FIRST to consider this messy response and revert to the old 6 team qualification system to give the finalist alliance a chance at worlds again. Thank you for your time.

I am re-posting this from Field Damage blog. Of particular concern is the request to FIRST to inform teams of any changes that would have a significant financial burden them. For example a team that is looking to spend thousands of dollars on swerve drive only to find at kickoff they are banned. -------------------------------------------------------- Submitted by Tom O'Neil (not verified) on Wed, 04/03/2024 - 4:01pm A couple of thoughts: Impact damage is a direct result of mass and velocity. A 120+ pound mass moving at 18+ feet per second is going to release a lot of energy if it runs into a stationary object. Even more energy when two 120+ masses traveling at 18+ feet per second run into each other. More padding does not solve this issue it only encourages it. It is harder to reduce mass then to reduce game play velocity. The game design should be such that high speed runs are not necessary. Let alone runs that are diametrically opposed to one another. This has been done in other seasons. Game piece damage could be reduced by understanding the way teams are going to harvest and score the item. For example, a note is a squishy foam ring that is expected to be harvested from the floor and shoot through the air. Sorry but it is not robust enough to stand up to this. A request to FIRST: Any robot limiting factors such as motors, speed, amperage, gear ratio, drive style etc. should be announced before the beginning of the off season. Teams are planning off season development for next year and this can be an expensive time-consuming exercise. Would hate to see a team develop swerve drive over the summer only to find out at kickoff it is banned.

I think everything is as it should be. Hockey lost it's edge. This is competition. Building a robust bot is part of the game. Fixing said bot between rounds is the thrill for build team. Haven't you heard of adrenaline building?

Hello!  This year was my first time coming to the world championships and we had a great time.  A few suggestions I would make aren't related to the topics the task forces are considering but I think they would be helpful nonetheless to help worlds run smoother and make for a better experience.  

1) I'm sure it has been said many times but higher bleachers on all fields are necessary to accommodate the crowds.  

2) I found the areas behind the bleachers were quite congested as robots are trying to move between the pits and their fields and we were often dodging robots and they struggled to get through the crowd.  Applying some tape to the floor between the pits and fields would give the robots a line to follow where pedestrians would know to watch for robots moving through and robots know this is their priority line.

3) Make a clear statement about "saving seats" and GP.  I completely understand that groups should not be saving large sections of seats for people who are rarely there and that should be enforced but, we had several instances where one or two people, who had been sat for hours, got up to to the washroom or get food and their seats were abruptly taken by people who claim "no saving seats".  One person even sat on our team mate's stadium seat.  We didn't want to make a fuss so as not to come across at "not GP" but it was a very frustrating situation to be in since we had waited in line since well before the doors opened in order to get these seats and we didn't have more than we needed and there were other empty areas in the stands.  This was honestly the only part of the event that left me with a sour taste and I know it is a problem on all fields as some groups use the rules with malicious intent... which, in of itself isn't very GP.  

This is a main part of the appeal of FRC.  It's more exciting to compete and watch because of the speed and power.  It requires more engineering to make a robust and competitive platform.  It's the logical progression to SAE Baja, 1/4 scale tractor etc..

Neither SAE Baja nor 1/4 scale tractor use aluminum as their primary structural material and neither is intended to impact anything. Yes, speed and power make FRC fun. It isd the main distinguishing factor between FTC and FRC since FTC can be just as technically complex and often relies more on sensors and coding than many FRC robots which need to put much more engineering time into surviving.

First really need to look at what game pieces are made out of. I would have thought that after the yellow ball debacle a few years ago they would not have had another foam game piece that needed to be shot but looking at how the kites held up I hope that first has learned its lesson. 

I agree with earlier comments. There needs to be a clock, 2:30 seconds should be appropriate, but no more. I realize there is pressure on the student out on the big stage, but we need to move things along quickly. Perhaps an app they could use which would have a list of teams in their order selection. As teams are picked they are removed from the list.


I do not like the idea of controlling the power to the motors, or some such option. I believe it is up to FIRST to approve motors, they unfortunately will need to test them given the current chassis technology. If a motor is deemed to be too fast/powerful it will not be approved. I think FIRST can work with the motor manufacturers with this.

While I realize the genie might be out of the bottle, one manufacturer has created a more powerful motor that is approved, we cannot have an arms race in speed and torque.

It seems to me that the game design is paramount in encouraging fast cycle times vs complex task achievement or collaborative game strategy. A great game should be a mix of the three, and likely should allow for teams to innovate their way into overcoming challenges. Game design could innovate suing rougher terrain, moving targets, and hazards that competitively drive precision movement and manipulation followed by pure travel speed. Let "clever" come back into the competitiveness equation vs speed, mass, and energy.  

The top 8 Teams should not be able to pick from the top 8.

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