Open Letter On VEXAI

Dear RECF,

I am writing this on behalf of VEXAI team 7700R. We have been anxiously awaiting the start of the new VEXAI season. Our mentor was told by Jim Crane that an official decision on whether the VEXAI season would go forward this year would be announced in January. It is now mid-January and a decision has not been announced, leading many competitors to ask if the VEX AI season will happen for Tipping Point. We need a clear answer on whether or not VEXAI is happening this year.

We understand that the season has been delayed because of challenges with manufacturing VEXAI sensors. However, we believe that this setback should not prevent the VEXAI competition from going forward this season.

We understand the reasoning behind the use of VEX GPS and the VEX object recognition camera. Teams which are just starting in the VEXAI competition should be given some introductory software and sensors so that they can begin their journey into VEXAI. However, we do not think that the continuation of the VEXAI competition must be dependent on the success of VEX-created sensors.

Last year, it took our coding team of two high school sophomores and one high school freshman about four months to create fairly functional, consistent object recognition and game positioning software from scratch. If our team can accomplish this task, surely other high school and college teams can as well.

The freedom VEXAI gives competitors is what enables the competition to stand out. Because of this freedom, VEXAI is an incredible learning opportunity for any team which participates. VEXAI is a competition specifically geared to advanced teams and competitors, so teams which participate should not require VEX-made sensors and software in order to succeed. This year’s VEXAI season should not be cancelled simply because some sensors can’t be made yet.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. We hope this information helps you in your decision for the VEXAI season.

Best,

Team 7700R

PS: I’m tagging @DanMantz @Jim_Crane @Bob_Mimlitch_III to make sure that this comes to their attention.

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Hello Yellnax,

Thank you for your post and for the endorsement of VAIC. The REC Foundation is still planning to have a limited 2022 VAIC season and we will be announcing our plans very soon. We do believe that the VEX AI Sensors is a very good option for many if not most of the teams. We want this hardware to be available as part of this year’s season which is why we delayed the start of this year’s competition.

Best Regards,

Dan

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Dan,

It appears that VAIC registration has opened, and the registration fee is $2500. Unfortunately, it’s not immediately clear what is included with registration. Can you share what hardware, if any, is included, as well as if worlds registration is included?

Thanks.

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Here is the Bill of Materials for the VEX AI Competition Kit
(2) V5 GPS Sensor
(2) V5 AI 3D Camera
(2) V5 Robot Radio
(1) GPS Field Code Strip v2
(1) Hook & Loop Adhesive Strip (5’)

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Bob,

Thank you for that list. Since many teams already have GPSes + field code strips, and VAIC teams that competed last year already have the extra set of radios for vexlink, is there an option to omit these parts in the kit when ordering (~$500 value) and to not pay for them (making the registration cost for such a team ~$2000)?

Thanks.

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@DanMantz Maybe you might know the answer to this?

Additionally, is worlds registration included in the price of VAIC registration?

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@DanMantz @Bob_Mimlitch_III,

A few teams have noticed it has been almost two weeks since @sazrocks has asked about the registration cost coverage, and we’ve been wondering what the answer to that might be.

Thank you for your time

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Hi Dan!

Is there an update on when further details will be released about the nature of the “limited” competition? I know you said “very soon” 25 days ago, but as we draw nearer to when the competition would be, its becoming increasingly difficult to plan out our workflow around so many unknowns. It would help our team immensely if we knew what we were working towards and by when we should be ready to compete, or at the very least when we might receive more information.

Thanks!

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As someone who pays attention to everything VEX as much as I can and has a lot of interaction with RECF staff, here’s a list of knowns and quality speculations:

I’ve heard that the kit of parts for AI teams is hopefully shipping the first week of March. With the global shipping crisis and chips shortages, this has been a constantly moving target for VEX to be able to fulfill. I doubt there will be any official comment on this until they have 100% confidence that they will have these in hand. We all know how the community reacts when VEX has missed projections in the past.

I doubt there will be any discount for teams who already have some of the materials. It frankly is not reasonable to expect that RECF would have two registration structures for teams. I would think that in the future the only way to reduce the registration would be to leave the KOP out all together and make you purchase that separately from VEX. Any suggestion of two different KOP sets or buying components individually from VEX would inevitably increase the average cost to teams. Sure some may pay less, but the increased labor costs would be passed on in pricing to the whole.

The very first VEX AI event in the US last season was April 16th. Registration for the Championship event at IFI opened April 21st. The Championship was held June 25-26. All indications from RECF at this point is that they are on a similar timeline for this season. I have asked several times when the cut off for events will be, but I really don’t expect anyone to be able to answer that until they are confident in the ship date of the KOP.

(Side note: If this is a similar timeline this season, I am tossing around the idea of hosting my event in Houston the day before load in for FIRST Champs. Hopefully teams would be willing to come in a day early and we get a group from across the country)

To answer @sazrocks question, I doubt the championship will be included in the price. Last season, championship registration was $495. I would expect it to be similar this year.

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Dan,

Since we’re now past the first week of March, do you have an estimate of when this announcement will be? Additionally, do you know when we will be able to get an answer to the above questions?

Thank you.

I think this is the ideal solution, and a number of prospective teams asked that this be done last year, however the possibility was pushed off till this year. Teams (especially those signing up for the RECF’s most challenging competition) are more than capable of determining what parts they do and do not need on their own.

That seems plausible, however the reason I asked was that last year $700 of the $2500 registration cost were ascribed to first year startup costs. Considering this will now be the second year of the program I was surprised to see that the registration price had not decreased at all, and was hopeful that perhaps worlds registration had taken the place of those startup costs.

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@DanMantz Do you have any update on this?

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