Answered: Clarification on Rule G9 - entanglement/pinning

Please could you comment on the following. In the rules we have G9

During a recent match a (red) robot reached over the wall to drop balls over it. A (blue) robot drove up to the wall to block the first robot. So far this is perfectally acceptable game play.

The (blue) robot then found that it was pinning the (red) robot and stayed in the blocking/pinning position position until 5 seconds before the end of the match when it moved back and then forward again to repin the (red) robot. In the last second it again reversed away from the (red) robot.

This pinning lasted around 1min 15 seconds. The (red) robot could not move and as it was the higher scorer of the (red) alliance the (red) alliance lost the match. The (red) robot was obviously trying to get away but the (blue) robot was just sitting there not doing anything.

My questions are:-

How do judges determine that the (blue) robots action was deliberate entanglement or not. Short of stopping the match and letting judges drive the robots to see if they were both entangeled or not.

How long should such pinning be allowed to occur before an instruction to disengage is given?

Pinning, in previous years has been defined as holding a robot in place against a rigid field object such that it cannot “escape”. For purposes of this discussion, I will assume this is the type of pinning you are referring to.

There is NO rule against pinning in the VEX Clean Sweep game manual. The center wall combined with rule <SG4> should eliminate most instances of pinning. In the event that pinning occurs over or under the wall, there is NO penalty.

Entanglement refers to when a robot becomes attached to another robot because parts of the two robots have interlocked in some way. Sometimes during normal robot interaction some unintentional entanglement occurs, the rules (specifically rule <R3c>) try to minimize this by eliminating robot features that post a high risk of entanglement. In the event that some form of robot entanglement occurs, referees would make a determination about whether that entanglement was “intentional” or not; per <G9>, intentional entanglement is illegal.

This ruling is ultimately up to the referee… however I can provide some guidelines that I would use if I was refereeing:

*]Are the robots actually “tangled” or are they just contacting / pinning each other? As discussed above, contact and pinning are legal in VEX Clean Sweep.
*]“Intentional” entanglement is VERY rare. It happens even more rarely when the robots are separated by a wall.
*]Intentional CONTACT is okay. Just because a robot came over and hit their arm against another robots arm doesn’t mean they intended to get tangled up with them. (The final result does NOT prove the intent).
*]If a robot had a hook or some other “latch” or “grabber” that they stick inside another robot, it might be intentional entanglement; this would depend largely on how the insertion appeared.
*]Did the robot do it quickly “in the heat of the moment” or did it appear to be slow and deliberate?
*]Does the robot have a history of entanglement? I would warn a robot for a first offense, and then watch them MUCH more closely in the future. Multiple entanglements would lead me to believe that they are either doing it on purpose, or they should consider modifying their robot so it is less easy to get tangled with.
Make sense? I’m fairly certain that what you witnessed will not be a common occurrence. The wall should make pinning & entanglement very rare.