Answered: Same Robot Clarification

This post was ghost written by Anomaly.

I’d like to get some clarification on how a particular event can determine if two robots are identical or plate swapping. I know it’s at the discretion of the head referee, but if there are some basic guidelines instead of just saying everything is at the head referee’s discretion it will reduce a lot of inconsistency and unfairness. If it truly is at the head referee’s discretion, what would you personally do if you were the head referee?

  1. If 2 robots at the same event are screw for screw copies of each other, are they both allowed to compete? If not, how can the head referee determine which one to disqualify?
  2. Can a team make a screw for screw copy of another robot and compete with it? If not, how is the line drawn? Does a robot with a screw for screw identical drive base constitute as identical? What if two robots share CAD files and use exactly the same plastic piece? What if one is a screw for screw copy of the lift and four bar but not the rest of the robot? What if it’s a screw for screw copy except a single ziptie is added or removed?
  3. If team 1A builds a robot, and decides to rebuild, can they give the disassembled parts they used to team 1B? If so, and if team B uses those exact parts to make a screw for screw copy of 1A’s old robot, does this differ from question 2? If so, how can the head referee determine that?
  4. If team 1A builds a robot, rebuilds, and gives their still intact drive to team 1B, can team 1B keep the same drive and build a new lift, 4 bar, mogo intake, etc? What if team 1A gives them their old drive, lift, and mobile goal intake, but 1B makes a new 4 bar and cone intake? Where does the line get drawn?
  5. If team 1A and 1B work together to design and build 2 identical robots, team 1A competes in January with the robot, and team B competes in February (with a distinct but identical robot), is it considered plate swapping? If not, how will the head referee be able to tell the difference?
  6. Are referees allowed to break the rule about referring to replays to look up old match footage and determine if teams are plate swapping? If not, how can they be expected to enforce this rule fairly?
    Thank you very much for your time and energy!

Each of your six scenarios include a reference to separate robots. To be clear, <R1> and its other associated rulings are referring to the scenario where a single robot is used at multiple events by different teams. Team 123A builds a robot, competes at an event, then hands it off to 123B, who then competes with the same robot at a second event; this is not legal.