We have had the autonomous line for a few years now. Many have appreciated the change and welcome an era of vex void of the suicide autons which became all too common in ITZ. Overall I think the community agrees it was a change for the better, but there is still something to be missed from the less restricted autons of the past.
Having a firm auton line which restricts any robot to robot contact significantly narrows the competitive designs for any given season. We are no longer able to have autons such as 62a’s from ITZ, which struck a balance between defense and offensive scoring which can never be attempted again with the current rules.
I think that in order to expand the amount of viable strategies and the variety of robot designs as well as integrate some level of defense into autonomous, the GDC should consider having a buffer or neutral zone in autonomous. The field would be split into 3rds, with edges being alliance specific zones and the central zone being a neutral zone, where interactions between opposing robots are unlimited.
Teams would still have a safe area to score in during autonomous, but could have a riskier autonomous routine to score in the middle of the field.
Having zones would create a lot more interesting moments during autonomous and potential to lead to much more exciting strategies and games where teams use the more flexible field to their advantage.