How long will we be able to keep using Cortex in competitions? Is it being phased out for V5? If so, is there a timeline for when it will no longer be allowed?

Sorry if this has been answered elsewhere. Looking around on the Vex site and not finding the answer.

Basically, here is our spot. I’m a teacher at a high school. I don’t know the exact numbers but we don’t have a huge budget. We already have a fair amount of Cortex stuff for the Robotics club that I run, which we use to do the Vex competitions. We’re also planning on offering a Robotics class that I will teach next year as well.

The current plan seems to be to purchase some more Cortex stuff for the class and use the Vex curriculum, which is based on the Cortex stuff, to teach it. In some ways this would be easiest for us because we already have a lot of Cortex stuff from our club that we can also use in the class, it’s what I’m familiar with so it will be easy to jump into, and Vex has a whole curriculum based around it (V5 has some “labs” but no full curriculum yet like Cortex has.)

With that said, if Cortex is being totally phased out and we will no longer be able to use it in competitions, especially if it is being phased out soon, it’d be kind of silly to use our limited budget to invest in more Cortex stuff, right?

So I feel like we can’t really make this decision until I get a sense of how long it will be possible to keep using Cortex stuff in future competitions.

Is there any official word on this?

As far as we know there is not. I would expect that it would be phased out of competition in a few years like some of the older systems have been. I would expect to see lots of announcements in forums and on the VEX site about this so teams can phase into V5. I would start phasing into V5 if i were you and transfer the cortex systems over into the classroom as you get V5. Since you are on a limited budget i would look at these threads:budget competition
new team tips
I would try to get sponsors although some schools make this easier than others. Try to get fundraisers done as well. There are also grants you can see here

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Agreed - I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Cortex was not allowed to be used next season for competitions, but at the outside I would guess no later than the season after.

That said, Cortex is probably a good selection for a classroom for the short-term future; the quantity and quality of the support available (including the forum knowledgebase and the curriculum) is far superior, IMO, to what is currently available for V5. However, it won’t be long before all the Cortex electronics are discontinued (in fact, I thought they had already done this for many of the items - I see that they are back as “in stock”, though, so perhaps the V5 issues made them delay).

I don’t think there is any official word on this; perhaps you could email / call your RECF regional manager and see if you can get additional insight.

At this point, if I were a teacher preparing to do a robotics class that would extend many years in the future I would probably do the following:

  • Buy highly discounted used Cortex electronics from teams who are upgrading to V5 (thereby stretching your budget out and having more available for structural pieces)
  • Plan on doing a year of robotics class using the available Cortex curriculum so you get a year where you don’t have to dig very hard to set things up or track down answers to problems
  • Plan on switching to V5 (maybe gradually) in the following year with the assumption that more classroom support will be available by then (and you’ll be better prepared to roll with whatever is there)
  • Spend the year getting financial support set up to purchase V5 equipment (fundraisers, sponsors, etc)

For a competition team, I wouldn’t invest in anything but V5 from here forward (although I find it frustrating that it has given us FAR more issues than the Cortex system ever did, there is no getting around that when (if?!) it works correctly it is a more powerful system).


I’ve tried to keep up on announcements as much as anyone else has, probably (but since our teams have all switched, it’s kind of a non-issue for us). When it was announced at worlds three (I think?) years ago, they said there would be “a few years” where both systems would be legal. Because of the botched rollout, perhaps it might be a “few years + 1” (and we’re in year 2 now). You could chat with your RSM, but the only “official” ruling/guarantee about next year will be when the next game manual is released at the end of the world championship. As others have said, there should be a pretty good aftermarket for cortex stuff as competition teams switch to V5 (but since educational use of VEX is 20-times more than competition use, it might not be real dramatic availability/discount). You could try asking for the sale of old cortex equipment in the World Coaches facebook forum. About now, most teams that have converted would be probably be willing to sell off whatever Cortex stuff they didn’t trade in or throw away.

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I would suggest going with V5 if possible. The STEM Labs actually are a curriculum, and having taught both are MUCH better than the old Cortex stuff. The old curriculum is pretty out of date.

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