Autonomous use during Teamwork Challenge in Squared Away

Are teams allowed to use autonomous programming during the Teamwork Challenge?

Autonomous programming was allowed at a recent event during the teamwork challenge citing this post in the forum from November 2017: [Answered: How much autonomy is allowed for the Driver Skill and Team Alliance matches?].

My concern is that the forum post is related to a previous game (Ringmaster 2017-18) and should not apply to the current game considering that page 16 of the Squared Away rules states, “Previous Definitions, Rules and Rulings found in documents and Q&A’s from previous seasons do not apply to the current game.”

As a head referee for a future event, I want to make sure I’m applying the rules correctly.

As I read the rules page one (1) provides a clear distinction between driver control and autonomous by stating, "In the Teamwork Challenge, an Alliance of two (2) Robots, operating under driver control, work together in each Match. In the Robot Skills Challenge, one (1) Robot attempts to score as many points as possible. These matches consist of Driving Skills Matches, which will be entirely driver controlled, and Programming Skills Matches, which will be autonomous with limited human interaction. "

In the definitions on page three (3), autonomous is (in part) defined as, “The Robot is operating without input from a VEX IQ Controller.”

On page four (4), driver controlled is defined as, “A Robot operating under the control of a Driver.”

On page five (5), the definitions of a programming skills match and a teamwork match also make a clear distinction between autonomous for programming and driver controlled under the teamwork match.

If autonomous use is allowed during a teamwork challenge, then why would there be a need for rules G6 (Two Drivers per Team) and G7 (Switching Controllers Midway) or why isn’t there a clarification within each rule for those who want to drive their robot autonomously?

Finally, allowing autonomous programming during the teamwork challenge seems to go against the spirit and intent of a TEAMWORK challenge.

Hi Troy,
Welcome to the forum.

I think what your are asking is “How smart can the robot be”.

Let say you have a line follower on the underside and sonar on the front. If you position the robot over a black line it will follow it unless something big (ie another robot is in front of it) until told to stop.

This means you can drive your robot to a line, press a button and wait until it gets to the other side of the field and the driver turns and puts the cube in the corner.


Lets assume you have a sonar sensor under your claw. You grab a cube and the sensor adjusts the arm to the right height to be able to place the cube on the goal.


The robot is on the field, it’s the best thing to see what’s going on. Your teams should make every attempt to load the robot with sensors to help figure out whats going on. Your teams should use that sensor data to make the robot as smart as possible.

The robot is always the secret third driver on the team, if you can make it win with some minor inputs from the humans that’s the best.

The " “A Robot operating under the control of a Driver.” means that the driver can override the robot at any time. By default the robot is “Sitting here until you tell me something” You want to program “Winning here until you tell me something else”

As a head referee for a future event, I want to make sure I’m applying the rules correctly.

If their robot is doing things without frantic fingers, that’s awesome. You want to wait until the match is over and then ask them about their programming. I’ll be it’s cool.


Thank you for your reply, Foster.

How about a situation where a team programs the robot to operate independently for the first 30 seconds of the match, then hands the controller to their partner and presses another button to allow the robot to run for the last 30 seconds?

Where is the skill of team member operating a robot in a driver controlled teamwork challenge in this example? Anyone single person could do all the coding of the robot and it doesn’t matter who “drives” the robot.

Why are there distinctions in the rules between driver controlled and autonomous? Why don’t the rules explicitly state that autonomous driving during a teamwork challenge is permitted?

Did they score points? Let’s think for a second, they are paired up with another team that is making random movements and they successfully score points in all that mayhem? That team is moving cubes and balls around and your two button push guys score points? That’s like me hopping into my Tesla model 11, going “Hardware Store Please” and arriving 10 mins later.

That is an amazing thing, They have programmed a VEXIQ robot to be the same as a human brain, some level of AI, developed by an elementary school roboteer.

I’m going to wait for the match to finish. I’m going to reset the field. I’m going to make them do it again. Then I’m going to call the other 31 teams up to the table and watch what happens with them to the other teams. If they consistently score points with two button presses with random robots, I’m going ditch the event, grab the parents and roboteers, form a Company and go make millions using the brains of those roboteers.

This is the holy grail. To get roboteers to program the robots to play the game with other robots without interaction from humans. From ovens that can cook things to perfection, to cars that can move people, to robots that move on the surface of other plants, this is what we are striving for, the perfect human-machine interface where the human goes “Win at Squared Away” and the robot does that. With two button pushes.

Good luck at your event!


I appreciate your response to the inquiry, hopefully someone from VEX can address my specific questions about how the rules are written and the intent behind the distinction in the definitions (and rules) between driver controlled and autonomous.

While this is by no means an official ruling (I’m a student, not a ref), it should be completely possible to run an “auton” by just pressing and holding a button. If you want, you could program in a drive on everything else. I recall someone in our organization once used this in driver skills (not teamwork) for a previous event, as their auton was more reliable.

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@Troy_Hatfield Just a reminder, VEX makes the parts that we use. RECF is the people with the rules. Dan Mantz is the only person from RECF that responds here. You need to do a @DanMantz can you please look at this request to get his attention.

But the best way is to go to the RECF Question and Answer forum for this year and post your questions.

And while on the surface you may think my answer is flippant, the reason that we are here is to inspire roboteers to get a STEM based job. If you have roboteers that can program their robot to do all of these tasks on it’s own, RECF, VEX, and you have made that happen.

Thank you for tagging @DanMantz in your post. I tried posting in the official Q&A, but I can’t because I’m not a “primary, secondary, or financial contact for a registered team.”

I’m a head referee who wants to make sure I’m interpreting the rules correctly for my future event.

Troy, my team does what I think you are worried about. Some call it driver assist. Anyways, they press a button on their controller at the start of the match and the robot drives forward., picks up the green cube and scores it on the low platform. It’s exactly what they do In the programming challenge, except in Driver, they press a button on the controller. In programming they press a touch sensor on the robot.