GPS sensor is going to be a mess


Recently a q and a was answered involving the use of GPS sensors outside of programming skills. It said that GPS field strip will be allowed, but not required on match field. It also said that teams will be allowed to use the GPS during competition matches. Earlier, it was stated that teams would have to unplug their sensors for matches, but now it seems that this will no longer be the case.

This causes many issues. A team will have to choose weather or not to have a more accurate GPS auton that might not work at an event, or a less accurate non-GPS auton that will work at an event. This gives an even larger advantage to teams that are hosting the event as they can make sure they use the GPS sensors if they now they will have it on all their fields.

The matter could be made even worse as an event might have only 1 field with GPS tape. This means, depending on what field your on, you may or may not have an auton.

I am asking Vex to please make a firm policy so that team’s auton capability won’t change depending on a choice made by the event partner. At the very least, make it required to have the events GPS sensors policy listed in robot events.


I agree that gps functionality needs to be consistent from event to event. It’s not really usable if it relies on arbitrary decisions made by event partners. As of now, it seems like a very bad idea to invest in the gps sensor because there’s no guarantee you’ll actually be able to use it at an event.


The only teams who can reliably use it are those who are hosting. This causes even more issues at events like state where it could decide who goes to worlds.


As an EP that hosts championship events, I can assure you that our decisions are not “arbitrary” and are reviewed with RECF RSM especially for events that advance teams to Worlds. Decisions by EPs are framed, like every other, by criteria and constraints. Criteria will be spelled out in Qualifying Criteria document. Constraint is usually budget and other factors. In the case of GPS Strips, the criteria will likely be addressed this coming week at the RECF Summit. Constraint of use will be determined of cost of GPS Strips (not too costly, so more fields likely to have it, but skills and practice fields are a first priority). Some fields we will not put strips on, not because of utility, but rather they may be borrowed fields.

I read the Q&A and agree the last point is a bit bizarre, as it seemingly deviates from statements about active use of V5 GPS sensors being limited to Skills. This is likely to be a topic for deep discussion by EPs this coming week.

This is a first test year of GPS Strips, so be patient as more information comes out. Qualifying Criteria document is likely to be out this week, or shortly after.


Ok arbitrary is not the right word. But there is a decision completely outside attending teams (and probably often the ep’s themselves because of budgeting) control. And therefore the gps strip is not a reliable feature.

I would rather see the gps not be legal for use in any matches until it can be assured in all matches, for the sake of consistency.


GPS Strip is required for all programming skill fields. So that is reliable feature at every qualifying event. Also, EPs must provide opportunity for teams to do three programming and three driver skills at their events. There are different configurations to do this.

The only unknown is the point about teams able to use GPS sensor in competition matches or drivers skills. Pretty sure that will be unambiguous after this week’s summit.


yes, I was talking about driver skills and matches though, where the q&a suggests that is it legal for events to use the tape and teams to use their sensors, but it isn’t required for the tape to be there.

hopefully it does get cleared up, I don’t think unreliability from event to event in the usability of a sensor is a good thing.


Looks like someone has posted a q and a on the topic:

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I am pretty sure the response will be inline with what Grant Cox answered about this situation during RECF Summit. EPs must have GPS strip on Programming Skills field starting October 1st. RECF will provide one strip to each EP hosting events this season. If an EP puts GPS strip on competition field, it must be present on ALL competition fields if not removed during matches. Teams are indeed permitted to use V5 GPS sensor during matches.

Now inference - Grant wanted to see what teams would do this first year with V5 GPS in the VRC ecosystem, which I infer to mean he does not think it will be disruptive to teams without V5 GPS strips.

I think for teams the question is what to expect at events. The simple solution is to make sure that EPs state on if GPS strips will be present on competition fields during matches at the time they post their events for approval. So for example, my regional championship event, I plan on doing just that. For championship events, it is the end of the journey for most teams with some advancing to Worlds.

During the session it was asked if Worlds will have GPS strips on all their competition fields for matches. The answer was it was not yet decided. I suspect if Worlds will have strips on all competitions fields during matches, and teams are permitted to use their sensors, then you will likely see most championships do the same.

End of the day, this seems it will be driven by teams in each region. Each team will have to make a risk/reward early season about what sensors/approach to solve problem of location/positioning on their field and there plenty of options in this space.


Since this thread was made in the summer and most of the posts were made on speculation, I was wondering how many teams have been using the GPS sensor this season and the availability of GPS strips on competition fields.

Does your robot use the GPS sensor?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Not yet, but we are planning on adding one

0 voters

Have the tournament you have gone to had GPS strips on the match fields?
  • None of them have
  • Some have
  • Most have
  • All have

0 voters

I would like to point out that they are not required for competition fields. I think the better question is if they are on skills fields where they should be…

Were there GPS strips on the skills field?
  • Some
  • All
  • None

0 voters

I thank those wanting surveys of where we are at - or almost at. Our limited experience with GPS strips is the velcro adhesive did not work on metal frames and would fall off during runs. We are going to be testing the 3M duraloc strips (on ez pass and really strong glue!). Magnets were considered and asked on Q&A and definitive NO :frowning: . It also looks like the new field perimeters will have them pre-printed into the plastic - hope that works.

But back to the basics - I was expecting to get strips on all fields - matches and skills - but operationally there are unknowns - so will not use them on match fields. Skills we will be and the real question that is important - how many teams need it? Why, well thanks to Omicron variant of covid - we have to shift to skills-only format to limit number of people in building and have effective contract tracing. The truth is we have two GPS strips for skills - but we will want to run four fields - practice and runs … so my thinking right now (pragmatics) we will let teams book fields for their skills runs slots - we will make sure those teams using GPS will have a field to practice and do skills run have the strips - no GPS sensor - first available for scheduling of teams in building.

These past couple of years, we have to roll with it. Whilst nice to strive for every field with GPS - not helping logistically when you have to propose to Board of Health how you will reduce # of people in enclosed space and be able to contact trace.

This will be a rough winter - keep safe - wear masks at every event if you can or required to.

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I was watching a livestream of a competition where few roboteers were masked. However, every inch of the gym’s hardwoods were covered in plastic tarps to protect the surface from scuff marks. Human priorities and risk assessments can be amazing for what they reveal.

It would be wonderful if the lesson of the past 2 years was for people to be kind and mindful of others


One important thing to note as well is that teams need a minute or two to tune the gps sensor to the field. We have been working hard since it came out and have been very successful with it. I would be very curious to here from someone at vex their plan to let teams tune.


At a previous competition I attended they didn’t have gps tape for the SKILLS field. They made an announcement asking if anyone had it so that it could be used. Just to be safe I would take the tape from your personal field and ask for it to be used if there is a lack of one. Also a good solution to attaching it to your field is black magnets, put them on the black squares and it doesn’t seem to affect performance.

This would be illegal method of affixing the GPS strip to the perimeter and may not be used in competition setting. I asked on the Official Q&A.


For anyone curious about how effective GPS can be check out this video:

GPS path correction video

It’s not a perfect example but you can see where the rings Turn it too far and it still does fine.


I believe I saw your question. I was suggesting it for personal use as an easy way to attach it.

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