Answered: <SG8> Further Clarification

I wanted to post a question/reply to an earlier thread on <SG8> but it appears to be closed.

I’m a new coach for a new team and we just participated in our second competition yesterday. An announcement was made at the start of the games pretty much summing up the point on this post

Our team scrambled to adjust their autonomous routine as it clearly would’ve violated the rule as stated. The original routine performed the action described in the original poster’s example in the above thread. It was altered so their robot would go over the bump at the center of the field to avoid hitting any balls. During the first run, our robot hit a large ball and we were warned. We further altered the routine by not preloading a buckyball. In a subsequent match, our opponent pushed the large balls over to our side and our robot turned and struck it and knocked some buckyballs off the bump. We were disqualified for this.

As explained in the other thread, had our team not performed an autonomous routine and instead drove their original pattern of collecting the two balls against the wall then driving through the balls on the bump during the driver portion, it would have been allowed. A driver can make course corrections and purposely do this. Our robot was disqualified for actions beyond the scope of the program. Please help me understand this rule. I need to explain it to our 7th and 8th graders and as it stands now, all I can tell them is, “it’s the rules.”

The Possession rule is written to prevent teams from intentionally controlling more than 3 BuckyBalls at once. In the Autonomous Period, a robot that is holding two BuckyBalls and then drives directly at 3 more that are in a known location, in an attempt to move them, is clearly intentionally attempting to control more than 3 BuckyBalls at once. During the Driver Control Period things become much murkier. Instead of having the referees try and constantly evaluate intent, we’ve gone with a much more lenient interpretation of <SG8>; teams are allowed to drive through BuckyBalls provided the BuckyBalls do not move with the Robot. This way the referees aren’t trying to evaluate if every interaction with a BuckyBall is intentional, and teams who are carrying three BuckyBalls don’t need to dodge and avoid all other BuckyBalls on the field.

I hope this helps you and everyone understand our rationale.

Thank you for the quick response. However, I’m still having trouble with it. Our robot was programmed to avoid the other balls, but they were moved in its path. The specifics of our situation was this: We had two balls in possession. The large ball was pushed over into our path. The robot turned and struck the large ball which in turn struck the buckyballs on the bump. This was construed as controlling more than three balls. We were disqualified for it.

Is it safer to not attempt an autonomous program within the hanging zone? If we forgo any preload and attempt to push the large ball over the bump, can we be disqualified if it in turn hits the three buckyballs on the bump? By the above logic, it would be construed as controlling four balls.

I apologize for going on like this but we’re very new at this. I only get to work with the students one day a week so I need to figure out whether we should scrap the programming for the hanging zone or have them work even harder at getting it right.

Thanks again.

Thank you for clarifying your situation. From what you have described, this is a situation that probably should not have resulted in a disqualification. It does not appear to be intentional herding. However, without seeing the exact situation, we can’t issue any sort of blanket statement.

What you have described is not intentional herding, therefore it is not considered possession, thus <SG8> would not be violated in the process.