college 1:00 (in game) autonomous wasted by a ram?

as you may know, the college teams have an autonomous period of one min
ive noticed in recent high school competitions, there are more and more teams with “ramming” autonomous’ that intends to screw up your autonomous, and sometimes even do it so well that you end up touching your own “prescore” voiding the tube
the question is: is it worth programming your robot to do a full min of autonomous when a team can just spend 10 secs programming a “ram” autonomous and void your hard work?

even if some autonomous’ are expecting ramming and are programmed to avoiding it, it is still not hard to “ram” other than to score

im not trying to say “ramming is cheap”, im trying to ask how much time should you invest in autonomous when it can easily be “wasted”

in clean sweep, the field is divided so there is no robot-robot interaction
i have not seen college teams play elevation, what were your experiences with ramming in the past?

If a college team using a ramming tactic, they’re not going to win autonomous anyway. I personally think that it’s just a strategy that we have to prepare for, and in terms of autonomous there are ways that you can write it so that even if your robot is rammed it can correct itself and continue the code, in which case the ram was for nothing and the other team will lose the autonomous bonus.

Given the fact that autonomous is worth 15 points for college teams (which is reasonably significant), I don’t think any teams can afford to throw that away by just ramming - they might as well give the autonomous a go. Ramming seems to be a strategy used by teams who don’t have any other option because they either don’t have enough time or not enough skill/expertise to write a better program.

thats what im trying to imply
that its too easy for a “little to no skill” programmer void your hard earned autonomous
and for one min challenges, i spend weeks to perfect it, if i knew that it was that easy to ruin, then i would consider even TRYING an autonomous…
(thats assuming the one min autonomous i did was for a college match)

Like I said, it’s a strategy you have to prepare for. At the college champs, I don’t expect every team to use ramming, so even if you are rammed in some matches, you can still get to play out your autonomous against other good teams that have good programming.

And if you do enough scouting, you can figure out which teams are playing ramming strategies nice and early. And prepare for those matches.

we are planning those “evade” strategies in high school matches as well
even though its only 20 secs, you can get a strong lead if done right (and not rammed)
thanks for your insight though
my teammates and i were also talking about how you wont get “respect” and be chosen if all you did was ram…

They can’t ram you if they can’t catch you…

I think the college challenge is meant to be a bit more difficult than the high school game. You’re right that the weaker teams might resort to ramming, but the better teams will simply anticipate that, dodge the ram-bot, then proceed to score.

Easy, no… possible… well, I guess we’ll see.

But really, if you’re going to post-secondary in BC and want to find out, why not come play the college challenge at BCIT next year? I believe we’ll have the first team in Western Canada.

yeah :slight_smile:
and i plan to join that team the year after :wink:
or try to start a UBC team with my friends…

Ramming can only stop you if you are running a simple dead reckoning program. With an accelerometer you can detect a ram and if you can detect it then you can work around it…


See this is the reason why teams are using the cheater tube, because even if a team rams you in autonomous your always going to score, no matter how much they ram you. :smiley:

nope, at our competition last week, some robots rammed so hard that they pushed the robot back to “touch” the “prescore” so it doesn’t count towards the autonomous bonus…
there are counter strategies for everything :wink:

lol, that term is spreading like mad. Vex finds that preload to be 100% legal, just like how robots can unfold to become more than 18". I dont think these type of things should be frowned upon, especially since everyone is capable of doing add the mechanism to their bot…

Accelerometers work. So do encoders and line trackers. I think it is all about being prepared.

Another option that is probably not as available to the college teams is simply going a way the opposing team does not. Unique autonomous functions, thinking out of the box.

We were actually one of those teams that resorted to ramming one match (in fact, a lot of matches :D). We actually broke parts of team before… However, a lot of teams we rammed were very prepared, and still scored. A notable strategy a while back was scoring the preload then ramming, ensuring the win in autonomous.


It would be good in general to train yourselves to think of autonomous friendly-to-opposing robot contact as Pushing, rather than Ramming.

If you set out to Ram another bot, subconsciously, your brain will probably connect that thought to methods to hit the other robot hard enough to harm it; and referees and judges will make that same mental connection if you describe what you plan or what you did as as Ramming.

I suggest you instead think of of it as a Push, and then carry it out as a Push.

Along these lines, I think intact tires or cut-up sections of tires make excellent shock absorbers that help convert Ramming into Pushing. Put a few of them on the side of your bot that will make contact. Maybe use a zip-tie strap or a Velcro strap to cover the tires with a 5 Holes x N holes plate if you are worried about the tires becoming an entanglement hazard.

The tires won’t decrease your momentum, but they will deliver your bot’s stored energy into the other bot a bit more slowly than bare metal will.

Modifying your software instructions can also help you get the job done without damaging the other robot.


I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the idea or possibility that they code an error correcting autonomous mode. It won’t always work, but maybe there are ways to sense that you have been pushed or spun that you can counteract.

We just wanted that to be a surprise:-P With the amount of sensing we’re working with, autocorrection should be fairly reliable. Come kick us at worlds!

We had a match in Las Vegas two weeks ago where we scored our far side preload, picked up the stack and got rammed against the wall. The robot kept trying and trying and right at the end of auto actually broke free and scored 2 of the 4 tubes on the goal. The robot was pinned against the wall for a good 10 seconds with one wheel off the ground spinning. Luckily we were using the other wheel’s encoder to track how far we’d moved. Everyone was amazed (including us!).

We (Team 918) will be competing in the middle school division at worlds too!