Alternative Idea for Vex AI

Right now, there is very little reason for a high school team to want to do vex AI instead of VRC. A team that would have the skills to compete in VEX AI, would likely be a fairly competitive VRC team. Right now, it would be very hard for a team to give up the opportunity to compete at multiple events throughout the year, compete against hundreds of teams, and win awards. In turn they would get to compete once of twice a year to a competition they would likely be driving hours for. And they would only have a small group of other teams they could ever compete against. Oh, and did I mention the $1000+ registration fee?

I propose that instead of having Vex AI as a entire competition, Vex AI competitions are implemented into VRC. Just like VRC has tournaments, leagues, and skills only events, it would have AI events as well. Teams would be able to bring their VRC legal robots to and AI competition. Teams would then play other teams in one vs one matches, with the driver control period replaced with AI programs.

While this would take away some of the aspects of vex AI (3d printing and 3rd party sensors), it would allow many more teams the opportunity to compete. I know that nobody in the 67101 program would ever do Vex AI competition. However, there would be interest to compete in a single AI event for fun.

I hope that RECF would consider doing something like this to make AI competitions more accessible to everyone.


:face_with_raised_eyebrow: you do in fact realize that vaic hinges on the use of a special camera? This is unfeasible for many reasons. Creating a decision-making program is next to impossible without the information about game state and the positions of other robots and field elements.

It feels like you’re trying to reinvent the wheel here.


While I believe it would be challenging, I believe that it would be possible without 3rd party equipment. Odometry or the GPS sensor could be used to find the robots position on a field, and while it has its flaws, a vision sensor could be used to detect discs. Match loads can also be introduced in specific positions, and rollers are also in a set position that won’t move.


I think one thing that may be holding VAIC back from happening currently is the lack of a Vex depth camera and microprocessor like was shown off in the VAIC ‘reveal’ video.

All the other sensors/electronics that were shown have been released (Color, Distance, Rotation, and GPS sensors), but the 2 arguably most important pieces are missing. Third party parts could very well be substituted by teams and would likely work on-par or even better than Vex ones depending on how much a team wants to spend, but I think it’s likely that Vex/RECF is wanting to wait until the official Vex products/tools are released so the barrier to entry for the program is lower.



I think there’s definitely a bootstrapping problem (e.g. there are no teams because there are no competitions, and there are no competitions because there are no teams).

I do think a couple things might be nice, and possibly help related (though possibly due to a different reason) issues with VEXU.

  1. Do away with VexAI/VexU robot size differences from VRC. Make all robots 18x18x18.
  2. Allow VexAI/VexU to use custom parts as they do today
  3. Allow VexAI/VexU teams to compete against eachother directly, probably under the VexU rules

Maybe allow VexU/VexAI teams to play in VRC Qualification matches, but be ineligible for Eliminations (or have a completely separate Elimination structure for them)


As an EP, I hosted the first VEXAI event in the US. Here’s some thoughts:

VEXAI is great and fills a perfect role as an option for the capstone project in our district’s robotics courses. The students who have worked on VEXAI the past two years all also had an afterschool VEX team, a FRC team, and many a BEST team as well. All of the competitors I can think of that pilot season that I knew from across the country were not all in on AI. They all did VRC and typically another competition as well.

The 3rd party equipment was fine for what it was as a proof of concept, but not ideal for where VEX wants this program to go. The big hold up is the new camera being available. After a talk with Bob Mimlitch at EP summit, I think people are going to be very pleasantly surprised at the amount of technology that they have packed into this thing and the functionality. Teams are going to be able to use it as a simple off the shelf solution, or dive in to some very advanced library building. Its just unfortunate that the supply chain issues of the last couple of years has put so much delay on it.

There’s no reason a team couldn’t do double duty with their VRC robot as the larger robot in an AI competition. The team from my district went to the final and won the design award at the championship doing just that. However, the teaching opportunities that all of the manufacturing options bring in is something students in many schools wouldn’t have with a robot otherwise. This also attracts a whole different group of potential mentors for robotics teams.

It would be nice to have high school and college VEX AI teams competing together, but the way robotevents is built it does not handle that at all. The initial plan for our first VEX AI event was to have it as a blended event since there were so few potential teams. That required two separate listings on RE, manually adding one group of teams or the other in TM, not being able to use VEXVIA or upload results to RE, modifying the way awards would be posted to RE. It was fine to do for one super small event, but not sustainable or even possible without an EP who is a super user with both TM and RE.

VEXAI will get here sooner than some think. With the things that were said explicitly about VEX electronics in general and things that were implied at the EP summit, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up by the end of the year or even earlier.


To clarify, is a student on a VRC team for Over Under able to also be on a VEXAI team same year?

Nobody knows anything about vexAI other than that it is totally 100% happening “this year”.


In the one previous season, yes a student may participate in VEXAI HS and VRC, as they are considered separate programs. Same went for VEXU and VEXAI U.