Answered: Robot Dead on Start of Match

I don’t think the rules address this. We saw three unexpected events with robots being non-functional at the beginning of matches last season, and the referees did not know how to handle the situation. Perhaps if there was a rule revision around this, or clarification in this Q&A, it would make the referee’s job easier:

  1. A robot was on, the proper lights were lit, but when the field was turned on, the robot never moved. Upon testing later, it worked fine – it just seemed to not “get” the start signal. (No one ever figured out why.)

  2. A team was in place, ready to go, but due to a problem with setting up the field pieces, its on-board Vex computer timed out before the match started. Other teams had reached down and reset their computers, but one team didn’t know it would time out.

  3. A team simply forgot to turn their robot on (in the semifinals, of course) and was disqualified when a team member reached down and flipped the “on” switch about 3 seconds into autonomous. The match was stopped, the DQ’d robot was removed, and the match was continued as 2:1.

I have my own ideas as to how each of these should be handled, but it would be nice get to get The Word from the rules makers.


There are many steps to be taken to ensure your robot will function properly during a VEX Robotics Competition match. For example:

*]Do you have the correct software?
*]Do you have the jumpers being in the correct position?
*]Are all of your wires being plugged in?
*]Are your batteries being charged?
*]Have so ensured that ALL Robot Components are fully-functional (ensuring the robot has as working Microcontroller, RX, Motor, etc)
*]Are your Cubes pre-loaded?
*]Is your robot on?
*]Etc, etc…
If your robot fails for any of the above reasons, there will be no replay. The match will proceed with no interruption.

Once the match starts, there can be no “setup” work or other interaction with the robots.

If there is a “field failure” a match MAY be replayed at the discretion of the event organizer and head referee. A field failure can be attributed to official field personel, scoring system, field controls, or the field itself.

If there is a “robot failure” a match can NOT be replayed. It is the responsibility of the team to bring the robot out ready to play.

I always say, the worst kind of problem is an intermitent problem. If the personel on the field can determine definitively that the problem was caused by a field failure, they may replay the match in question at their discretion. A technical support guide will be provided to events to help troubleshoot potential robot & field problems.

This is a robot failure. It is the team’s responsibility to have their robot ready to compete at the start of the match. In some cases, field personel will help teams prepare (i.e. remind them to turn on their robot), but it is ultimately the responsibility of the team. In this scenario there would be no replay.

In this situation the offending team would be disqualified at the end of the match for contacting the robot during the match. Refer to rule <G5> from “Section 2 - The Game” of the *Elevation *manual.

The result you described is not consistent with the Elevation rules. The only “correct” result would be a DQ of that team, after the match.