Pushing a cube across auton line

In our latest tournament the head judge said that if you accidentally push a cube across the auton line, it counts as an auton win for the other team oven if it doesn’t mess with their auton. Is there an official ruling on this?



For some additional context, I was the head ref (not the head judge, that’s a different role, which has nothing to do with making in-match rulings) at the event in question.

“Pushing cubes across the autonomous line” turned out to be a bigger issue at this event than I anticipated, I didn’t keep count but would estimate that it determined the winner of the autonomous bonus in 15-20% of all matches played. I can’t remember any matches where a robot’s autonomous routine was negatively impacted by a cube pushed across the line by their opponent, but cubes being pushed across the line was a frequent occurrence nonetheless. And per <SG2>, any violation must result in at least the autonomous bonus being awarded to the opposing alliance, regardless of the outcome or impact of the violation.

I agree that it’s a tad silly for relatively minor infractions like this to cost the autonomous bonus, but unfortunately (well, probably fortunately actually) head refs don’t get to change rules we think are silly - the only way to ensure consistent (=fair) gameplay across the world is for refs to enforce the rules as written.


Hold on, it is not silly. Programmers are responsible for the actions of the robot during autonomous. So you have two options - they are reckless disregarding the risk, or they are intentional with expectations of reaping rewards of of moving game objects to the other side of the field.

Sorry - if you can not control the actions of your robot during autonomous that’s 100% on you. It is not silly nor minor infraction as this is explicitly stated in the game manual.


Uh not to sound rude, but it is kinda silly. If one cube takes an unlucky bounce and ends up on the other side and you lose auto because of it. Especially if it did not even interfere with the opposing auton. I don’t think any programmers are being reckless when they code an auton that has the capability of scoring more than 4 points. And to this point,

they are cubes. On foam tiles. I would love to see teams implement bounce protection in the event a cube falls the wrong way and takes an unlucky bounce in order to control where the cube goes. While I disagree with the gdc’s ruling on this, these are still the rules and I will follow them, I just don’t see the point in making auton a risk for teams especially when in the previous game, with the same auton line, game elements could be chucked across the field during auton with no penalty.


There is no luck in programming and engineering - write better code and test it.

Teams are responsible for this aspect of the game. If you can not make sure game objects you control are not in your control under program control, then do not do it.


Eh, I think there’s some middle ground between those two. IMO it’s difficult to devise a non-trivial autonomous routine that poses zero risk of pushing a cube partway across the line. I think it’s reasonable to try to mitigate/minimize that risk and accept that if things don’t work as designed, there is some possibility that you lose autonomous as a result. I don’t think that sort of calculated decision falls under either “recklessly disregarding the risk” or “reaping the rewards of moving game objects to the other side of the field”.

That said, “silly” was probably not the best word choice on my part - you are certainly correct that “minor” (for lack of a better term) violations of the autonomous line are every but as serious as “major” ones and teams should make every effort to avoid them just the same.


In a binary system of rules, there is no “middle ground” either it meets the requirement of the game or it does not.

The only option of for Head Referee is if it also warrants a DQ. That is left as a matter of opinion for the head referee≥

I get that it is part of the rules i am just voicing my opinion that I believe that something with such a high chance of happening ought not to carry the penalty that it does.


Agree 100%

There have been times where an opponent accidently pushed cubes onto my side, ruining my autonomous. Though accidental, it costed me autonomous points on several occasions. The head ref never calls it out, and I just assumed it was proper ruling because the opponent never physically crossed the line. If this happens again, how should I argue it? Does a head ref have the power to deny the argument? I feel like this rule is unclear.

I certainly agree that teams have control of their robots during autonomous, there is no debate to be had there. But, that being said, I do think the idea that just because one team has inadvertently caused a game object to switch sides of the field then they should lose autonomous is a bit unreasonable.

Say your robot goes to pick up the line of 4 cubes in auton, but your tray, or intakes do not flip out causing you to push the cubes onto the other side of the field, and there is absolutely no harm done to the opposition’s autonomous(say they just push 1 cube into the zone). I do not think it is fair to have the team that wrote a more advanced autonomous lose the auton bonus because of something that was not match affecting.

There are of course many situations where pushing cubes to the other side of the field would mess up the opposition’s autonomous. Maybe that rule is just to simplify reffing so that “match affecting” doesn’t have to be determined every time a cube goes over the line. I think that is a valid argument to be made in favor of this rule.

Im fine with this rule how it is, but I also think not having any negative consequences for a game object crossing the line during auton could have worked in the rulebook just as well.


While I agree that this is how the rules are written and that it is 100% on a team to be able to follow these rules, I do think that it is a poor rule. For one, it severely limits the complexity an auton routine can be. Most 8 cube autons are technically illegal because that one raised cube in that L shape can roll over the line. Also, a refs first thoughts if they see a cube harmlessly pass that line is to ignore it, it did no harm, why does t matter, and that will create inconsistencies between regions and events. I mean, I’ve seen cubes cross that line hundreds of times, nobody at the events ever thought twice about it. But at events in other places, it may be the norm to award the other alliance the bonus. What happens when a team from here writes an auton that has a chance of a cube rolling past the line, then at worlds gets penalized? Or the opposite, a team has to compromise their auton to lower the risk of a cube crossing the line, then consistently looses because their auton isn’t scoring as high as those who let cubes roll.

Also, if this is enforced, it will create more auton ties. I’ve seen a ton of matches where cubes roll across the line from both alliances.

So to summarize the rule needs to state either:
-if a cube is caused to cross the auton line, intentionally or accidentally, directly or indirectly, the auton bonus will be awarded to the other alliance
Or preferably (makes more sense to me anyways): if a robot directly or indirectly, intentionally or accidentally, effects the opponents autonomous the opponent will get the auton bonus.


Also in SG7, the game manual states:
Cubes may not be used to accomplish actions that would be
otherwise illegal if they were attempted by Robot mechanisms. Examples include (but are not limited
• Encroaching upon an opponent’s Protected Zone per .
• Interfering with an opponent’s Autonomous Period per .


I think you stated the situation correctly - there is a risk that autonomous routines can lose control of the cubes that will roll over the Autonomous Lines contacting the opposing side foam tile. In this case, teams have to take ownership of their robot’s actions and lose possibility of gaining autonomous bonus points. This will likely happen at Worlds as teams value the reward of the bonus points.

Rules. should be enforced as written. If Head Referee is not, respectfully get their attention, point to the offending game. object, and show the rule in the game manual.


See above answer about approaching Head Referee to discuss the application of the rule. That is how things will get better.

You should handle this before matches start. During the drivers meeting ask a question about the Q&A ruling so you bring the head ref’s attention to it. You should also have a print out of that ruling.


And, the way the rule is written makes it easy for the referee… Let’s not forget that if multiple robots are knocking cubes across the line it would be very difficult for the refs to keep track of all the cubes and determine which ones could have been had an effect or not. Sometimes we want the rules to be easy so we avoid arguments and hurt feelings. Every time we make a referee make a judgement call it makes it harder to referee.


The only time I have heard of losing the auton because of a cube that was pushed over is when the cube caused the opposing alliance’s auton to mess up. This was a constant ruling at all the competitions that I went to.


Ok… but the answered Q&A https://www.robotevents.com/VRC/2019-2020/QA/405 seems to indicate that ANY interaction of the cubes with the foam tiles (or towers or cubes) on the other side is a violation. So, as of the time the Q&A was answered (which I wish was indicated on their response), it may no longer be acceptable to limit the interaction to actually causing an issue. Without any additional clarification, it appears that refs are now required to consider a cube crossing the line as an automatic loss.

Clarification is being requested in these unanswered Q&A:


Right. But if you let that happen, you’re technically punishing that one team which went above and beyond and implemented a robot design and auton routine that precisely collects the first two cubes, stops to raise the intake and cleanly snatch the top cube from the stack, then proceeds with the rest of the cubes safely. Yes, I have seen such a robot and auton. No, not my team, I am just giving respect where the respect is due.

After all, each team is taking a (more or less) calculated risk. Risk analysis (or trade-off analysis in general) is an important part of engineering, since nothing is black or white, or 100% reliable.