Our team has a decent autonomous routine this year and has been using it with some success in driver skills runs too. The driver would push a button on the remote (not touching the robot) to start it, and intervene later only if something goes wrong. In the state competition however, a couple of teams questioned whether our strategy was legal. The head ref checked the game manual and eventually ruled in our favor.
For an official ruling, you’ll have to ask on the official Q&A.
That said, I’m not sure a Q&A entry is warranted here. The strategy you describe is clearly legal, and I do not think it is likely that other head refs might rule otherwise.
(One thing to note - in VIQC programming skills, you can pick up your robot and reset it to a legal starting position at any time and for any reason (<RSC7>), and many teams do this strategically in programming skills. But in driver skills, per <G17> you can only reset the robot if it “goes completely outside the playing Field, gets stuck, tips over, or otherwise requires assistance”. So, in VIQC if you wanted to run your programming skills run in driver skills, you’d need to have a programming skills routine that doesn’t depend on resetting the robot at any point.)
I do not think so. Also, I feel like there really wouldn’t be a problem anyways since not only does it not explicitly state in the rules that you can not do this, but most teams simply have better driver skills than programming skills. Therefore, it’s reasonable to infer that no rules would be broken at all, as your not gaining an advantage over your opponent.
Past Q&A’s are available…I usually find them using google to search for “game name” “Q&A”
Keep in mind that past ruling don’t apply to the current year; however, the majority of past rulings are not specific rulings that created a new interpretation, but just RTM (read the manual) confirmations. The most common RTM note from the GDC is simply: “There are no rules preventing this, therefore it is legal”