Answered: Sharing Robots between VEX U and VRC

So recently we hosted a VRC competition here on our campus, and we noticed one team that we were competing against at a VEX U event was here with the same robot they used. Is this legal? Thanks

Provided that the Robot has passed inspection as a legal VRC and/or VEX U Robot, there are no rules preventing this. Rule <R1> states that teams may only compete with one (1) robot, but does not specify that a Robot may only be used by one team. While we feel that “robot sharing” is not the best way to get the most out of a VEX experience, it is not really something that can be legislated by a written rule. To explain this a bit further, think about the question, “what is a robot”?

  • Is it defined by a design? The VEX community has a strong, healthy culture of design discussion and sharing between teams, often from different areas of the globe. This often results in robots with similar designs, sometimes even within the same event. In fact, every season you may see one particular design, built in the exact same way, competing at different events - the Clawbot.

  • Is it defined by which students work on it? Similar to the above point, it is not uncommon for teams to provide assistance to alliance partners or teams within the same organization. There is no clearly defined (or enforceable) line between “1A tightened 1B’s zip tie”, “1A assembled 1B’s metal parts”, or “1A built a robot and gave it to 1B”.

  • Is it defined by physical parts? To have passed inspection at both a VRC and a VEX U event, this robot cannot have had 100% of the same parts - at a bare minimum, the Team Identification Plate must have changed. So it is, at most, 99% the same parts. At this point, the question of “is it the same robot” becomes similar to a Ship of Theseus paradox. (imagine if one team takes apart their robot, donates all of their parts to another team, and that team builds a replica of the first team’s original robot - is this the same robot?)

  • Is it defined by what the manual says? The Game Manual defines “Robot” as “Anything that has passed inspection that a Team places on the field prior to the start of a Match.” Thus, if it has passed inspection, then it is legal for play.