Robot Transportation Mar. 4 2020| 0 KB

Content Type: FIRST Robotics Competition
Tags: Events, Game/Challenge, Team

General Robot Transportation Information

Information-International Teams

Robot Transportation Exemptions

How to Apply for a Robot Transportation Exemption

Important Information About Robot Transportation Exemptions

Approved Robot Transportation Exemption Application Requests

Denied Robot Transport Exemption Application Requests

Shipping Your Robot Using Your Own Funds

Teams Shipping to FIRST Championship


General Robot Transportation Information

  • All Robot Transportation Exemption (RTE) approved teams must build and use a crate to ship their robot. 
  • Batteries
    • There will be batteries available in the Spare Parts cases at Pit Administration, first-come first-serve basis. These batteries will be available to all teams, not specifically for International Teams. Teams are encouraged to bring their own robot batteries. Please see the Shipping Crate Construction above for detailed instructions about how to ship robot batteries in your crate. Remember to check the regulations for shipping other types of batteries, specifically the new regulations about Lithium Ion batteries.
    • Non-Spillable Battery Sign for Robot Crates
  • Teams may ship additional crates with tools, pit displays and other event materials at their own expense. However, teams are responsible for abiding by all regulations, paperwork, drayage and any other costs associated with this shipment. 
  • Carriers require prior notice for pickups, especially if your location does not have a loading dock. 
  • If you find that your robot crate has been damaged on the journey to your event, you must notify Pit Administration at your event on the first day of the event. 

Information-International Teams

Please see below for a list of suggested international carriers:

Carrier Contact Info
United Pacific Phone#: 718-528-8889
R&L Carriers

Robot Transportation Exemptions (RTE)

Not all FIRST Robotics Competition teams can transport their robots to regional events. While it is our goal to assist as many teams as possible that have demonstrated hardships, due to the increasing number of FIRST Robotics Competition teams and two FIRST Championships, we will be taking a much closer look at robot transport exemption application requests. To be eligible for an RTE, a FIRST Robotics Competition team must provide detailed information to establish that a substantial hardship exists. Both conditions below must be met:

 1. The team is unable to physically transport the robot to the event themselves. 

  • The team’s home location is a great distance from the event the team will attend
  • The team does not have the means to transport the robot

2. The team is unable to pay to transport the robot to the event themselves

  • The team faces significant challenges that prevent the team from paying to transport the robot to the event the team will attend


How to Apply for a Robot Transportation Exemption:

  • To apply for a Robot Transportation Exemption, you must fill out the application when it is available.
    • Please read the "Important Information About Robot Transportation Exemptions" below before filling out the application. 
  • The deadline to fill out this form will be Friday, November 22, 2019 by 3:00 P.M. Eastern Time. No late submissions will be considered, so prepare to be on time by being early. 
  • FIRST HQ will review your application and respond via email, by Friday, December 20, 2019. 


Important Information About Robot Transportation Exemptions: *

* Please note that the rules and information are subject to change.

  • To be eligible for a Robot Transportation Exemption, a FIRST Robotics Competition team must provide detailed information to establish that a substantial hardship exists. 
  • Robot Transport Exemption application requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Not every application request will be granted.
  • A team may only apply for a Robot Transport Exemption for Regional events. Application requests to attend District Events (this includes In-District and Inter-District Events) will not be considered for approval. 
  • FIRST Robotics Competition teams attending more than one Regional event, and District teams attending Regional events will not get priority for Robot Transportation Exemption application requests. 
  • Robot Transportation Exemption application requests for teams that choose to attend consecutive weekly events will not be prioritized.
  • Robot Transportation Exemption application requests MUST explain in detail why the team is facing financial hardship for this season and a summary of what the team will be doing in the future (i.e., fundraisers, finding sponsors, etc.) to ensure the team will be able to afford travel/shipping costs in the future.
  • Teams applying for RTEs to international events may have additional restrictions based on travel times between events.
  • If a team is registered to compete in a Week 1 or Week 2 Regional Event, the team MAY need to ship weeks in advance, shortening their build time. This is sometimes necessary to ensure that the robot will arrive at the event in time for the competition. 
  • The Robot Transportation Exemption is only intended for transporting the robot crate.
    • Do NOT ship laptops inside the crate. The team must carry these with them as they travel. 
    • Do NOT include anything other than the robot and spare parts in the crate (no tools, pit display, t-shirts, etc.)
  • If granted an RTE, the team must abide by all the instructions provided by FIRST, including the crate construction guidelines and weight limitations. If the team does not comply, the RTE may be revoked, the team may not be eligible for an RTE next year, and/or the crate may be denied pickup.
  • If granted an RTE, the team will be granted (2) one-way transportation legs ONLY per season. That means if the team uses the (2) one-way transportation exemptions during the season, and qualifies for Championship, the team will be responsible for all shipping costs to Championship.
  • If a team applies for a Robot Transportation Exemption and is approved but discover later the team does not have a need for it, the team MUST notify FIRST HQ that they no longer require a Robot Transportation Exemption. This can be done by emailing


  • It is the team's responsibility to ensure export clearance from their home country. The team is also responsible for customs clearance back into your home country; this includes payment of duties and taxes.
  • Some countries require a customs broker and/or additional paperwork for export and/or import of their home country and it is their responsibility to obtain the necessary documents.  
  • FIRST is not responsible for any items that are not declared or are confiscated by Customs.
  • The team must properly declare the value of their robot. Please reference the Bill of Materials process. Please send any questions to


Approved Robot Transport Exemption Application Requests:

If a team has been approved for a Robot Transportation Exemption, they will receive instructions on shipping their robot to the drayage location for the Regional event a few weeks before their event. 

  • Only teams that have applied for and been granted a Robot Transportation Exemption will be able to make use of the drayage location for the Regional event. 
  • DO NOT SHIP ROBOTS DIRECTLY TO THE SITE!  All Robot Transportation Exemptions must use the drayage service that is provided by FIRST and must use the provided shipping documents. 
  • IMPORTANT: When granted a Robot Transportation Exemption, the team will receive a total of two (2) shipping documents to be used for the current FIRST Robotics Competition Season. This includes FIRST Championship. Each team may use the shipping documents to:
    • Ship robot crate to a Regional Event; AND
    • Ship robot crate home from a Regional Event OR Ship robot crate to a FIRST Championship. 
    • Please note: If a team uses both shipping documents to ship the robot crate to and home from a Regional event, the team has exhausted the shipping exemption for the current FIRST Robotics Competition Season. Should they then decide to attend FIRST Championship and the robot crate has already returned home, the team will be responsible for paying for and transporting the robot crate to FIRST Championship. The team will still receive a shipping document at FIRST Championship for use to ship the robot crate home.
  • If granted an RTE, the team must abide by all the instructions provided by FIRST, including the crate construction guidelines and weight limitations.  If the team does not comply, the RTE may be revoked, they may not be eligible for an RTE next year, and/or their crate may be denied pickup. 
  • If granted an RTE, the team must abide by the ship by date provided by FIRST.  If the team does not comply, FIRST is not responsible for the team’s robot not arriving in time to compete. Additionally, the RTE may be revoked, and the team may not be eligible for an RTE next year.


Denied Robot Transport Exemption Application Requests:

  • FIRST will NOT set up robot storage/drayage for a robot and will not provide shipping documents.
  • DO NOT CONTACT THE VENUERobot crates are not allowed to be shipped directly to the venue.
  • The team is solely responsible for ALL shipping and robot storage/drayage costs.
  • The team is solely responsible for locating and coordinating with a local team or business to receive and return the robot crate before and after the Regional event. Please contact the event’s Regional Director if you cannot find any storage solutions.
  • The team is responsible for tracking the robot shipment to ensure it arrives on time for the Regional event.

If the team still needs to ship their robot to an event, here are some helpful tips:

  • Determine a ship-to address (Drayage Location) for the crate(s) pre-event. Remember do NOT ship your robot to the venue. Find a local Drayage Location near the venue or contact a local team willing to take in your shipment or contact the event’s Regional Director if you cannot find any storage solutions.
  • Contact a shipping carrier in your area and request a quote.
  • Establish a relationship with a Customs Broker (if you are shipping internationally) to help with the Export transaction and all paperwork.
  • Pack and ship your crate(s) to allow enough transit time. The crate(s) should arrive 2 to 5 days prior to Load-In.
  • Be sure to plan for the return of the crate(s) to your home location.

Please see below for a list of suggested international carriers:

Carrier Contact Info
United Pacific Phone#: 718-528-8889
R&L Carriers


Shipping Your Robot Using Your Own Funds

  • Teams may ship their robot to any event at their own cost without receiving an approved Robot Transportation Exemption from FIRST, however, teams MAY NOT ship their crate directly to the venue. You must make other arrangements to get your robot to the event. See the section "Denied Robot Transportation Exemption Requests" for suggestions. 


Teams Shipping to FIRST Championship

Teams attending the 2020 FIRST Championship can choose to either ship their robot using the FedEx voucher or hand-carry to the event.

Teams that qualify and are secured (paid the event registration fee) for Championship will get an email asking them if they want to hand-carry to Championship or ship it via FedEx. Teams will must select one or the other, as there will be no ‘default’ option.

Teams that make one selection but need to change it must send an email to as soon as possible by Monday, April 6 if going to Houston, or by Monday, April 20 if going to Detroit.  Requests after these dates will not be accepted. 

Teams that choose to hand-carry to Championship:

  • Teams can bring your one competition robot to Championship along with all other pit equipment.
  • The load-in instructions will be included in the Championship’s Event Guide, which will be posted on the FIRST Championship website.

Teams that choose to ship to Championship:

  • District Teams will receive a paper shipping packet at their District Championship.
  • Regional teams will get electronic shipping documents and instructions via email from HQ.

We encourage teams to ship before the deadlines below. Last-minute shipment scheduling will put your robot at risk of not arriving to the event in time.

  • Houston
    • Regional Competition Weeks 1-4:  Ship by 3/27
    • Regional Competition Weeks 5-6:  Ship by 4/7
    • PNW and Texas Week 6 District Championships: Ship by 4/7
  • Detroit
    • Competition Week 1-6:  Ship by 4/10
    • District Championships: Ship by the Wednesday after the District Championship

Teams that don’t ship by these deadlines risk their robots not arriving at Championship in time for the event.

Teams will not be allowed to use a FedEx shipping voucher exclusively for pit equipment/other non-robot items. Using a voucher in this way is considered an abuse of the system. If you are shipping, your robot must be in the crate.


Teams Shipping Home from FIRST Championship 

  • Teams shipping their robot to the FIRST Championship will receive (1) one shipment home for their robot crate under the FedEx donation. The FedEx shipping document for this shipment will be distributed at FIRSTChampionship at Check Out.  

  • This shipping document will be pre-printed with the shipping information that you provided before Championship.  

  • If the team would like to take their robot home as they leave FIRST Championship, they MUST fill out the Robot Removal Request Form to have their request approved by the Friday before the Championship Event you are attending (Houston: April 10, 2020 and Detroit: April 24, 2020) 

Teams that hand-carry their robot to Championship must hand-carry their robot out. In this case, you do not need to visit the ship desk or fill out the Robot Removal Request Form.