FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

FIRST Championship Detroit ‘You Bring It’ Pilot

Feb 28, 2019 Written by Frank Merrick.




At the 2019 FIRST Championship Detroit, we are piloting a program that will allow some teams to bring their robots to the event, rather than shipping them.


The intent of this pilot is to test our ability to have teams bring their robots to the event safely and with minimal additional load-in time and venue expense. We know it may be a convenience for some close-by teams to bring their robots themselves to the FIRST Championship, but we also know more ‘stuff’ being brought in by teams could cause unsafe conditions, slow down load-in time, and increase support costs from the venue. We will be reviewing our results after the FIRST Championship to determine if this pilot will be expanded in 2020.


This pilot will be limited to approximately 50 teams from the states of Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Identifying teams from a small number of specific states close to (or containing) the venue will help us manage the process while also engaging those teams most likely to choose this option in the future if it is expanded. Teams selected to participate in the pilot will be offered the option of bringing their robot to the FIRST Championship themselves or shipping their robot as they normally do. No team will be required to bring their robot to the FIRST Championship themselves; all will have the option of shipping.


This pilot is also limited to FIRST Championship Detroit. With the concentration of FIRST Robotics Competition Teams in the area and the generally more difficult load-in situation, we feel this focused pilot in Detroit will best help us decide if this pilot can be expanded to more teams attending Detroit, and teams attending Houston, in 2020.


To prevent this from becoming a Michigan-teams-only pilot, every team in Ohio and Indiana attending the FIRST Championship will be given the option of bringing their robot themselves to the event, while only a select number from Michigan will be given the option. This will help us encourage greater geographic diversity while keeping the number of teams within the pilot at about 50.


Every Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan team who are pre-qualified, earn their way to the FIRST Championship at a Regional, or are selected from the waitlist will be offered a chance to participate in this pilot. Also, all teams who earn their way to the FIRST Championship from the Indiana District Championship will be offered a chance to participate in this pilot. Finally, a select number of Michigan teams who earned their way to the FIRST Championship at their District Championship will be offered a chance to participate. The number of teams from the Michigan District Championship who will be offered a chance will depend on the number and percentage of teams who have accepted the offer from all three states in prior weeks. Teams from Michigan will be selected to receive an offer based on final District rank, starting at the highest ranked team and continuing through the list until the offer limit is reached.


Pre-qualified teams will be receiving their offer very shortly. Teams who qualify during the season will be offered the opportunity to participate in the pilot shortly after they have secured their registration fees for the FIRST Championship. These teams will have 24 hours to tell us they want to participate in the pilot. If we get no response in that time, those teams will be required to ship their robots.


Teams participating in the pilot will have a significant influence on the success of the pilot and whether it will be expanded! All pilot teams (and really, all teams) should work to minimize the amount of equipment they are bringing to the FIRST Championship and have a defined plan about how exactly they will be moving all their equipment from their vehicles to their pit locations. Does everyone have a job, and do they know what it is? Do you have enough carts/racks/etc., to safely but quickly move your equipment to your pit in one trip? The FIRST staff will be working hard to make this pilot a success, but we can’t do it alone!


I’m so excited for competition season to begin!


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Can teams from Ontario participate in brining their robot to avoid shipping?

Team 7200 Alliston Ontario


Sorry, but no. We are restricting this pilot to the three states listed so we can keep better control of it.

If a team participates in the pilot, can they expect a discount on their registration fee since FIRST will not be shipping their robot for them?

Championship robot shipping is graciously donated by our very good friends at FedEx, so does not affect FIRST finances. Also, FIRST charges a flat fee for Registrations regardless of the services individual teams do or don't use to keep things simple and predictable both for FIRST and for our teams.

Team 279 from Toledo Ohio is interested in bring their robot to the championship event. Parking our transport would be a concern we would like to address

Hello Team 279!

Please send an email to


Jamee Luce

Team Advocate

FIRST Robotics Competition

We would like to participate.  Who do we contact?

Hello 4145.

Please send an email to


Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

If we participate do we still have to crate the robot?  If yes, will there be a way to take it from the load-in area to the pits for us to use?

Hello Christopher!

Great question! Please understand that you must be invited to the Hand Carry Pilot. If you have already accepted your invitation, there is no need to put your robot in a crate. It should be in its bag, however.


Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

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