Transporting or shipping robots to worlds

What does everyone recommend for getting your robots to worlds? We are a team taking two bots from Ontario, Canada. We cant decide to FedEx the robots or take them with us. We believe that the FedEx employees may tend to handle items with a little more care than the customs and flight people who handle baggage on passenger flights. we’ve also heard that the Cortex should not be touched for a couple days after the flight so FedEx’ing the bots could give the robots the time to sit after until the Wednesday we arrive. Anyone have past experiences? recommendations and suggestions?

I don’t know about FedEx, but don’t go with UPS. We’ve had bad experiences. I would imagine that flight crews would be much more cognizant of FRAGILE labels all over your containers. There’s also fewer people handling the crates. Depending on how you ship it, it may be cheaper to fly it with the airline.

If you do decide to ship it, call your hotel and ask if they’re willing to hold it - some of them are willing to do so free of charge.

I don’t have much experience with shipping robots over borders (esp. into the U.S.), but the robot will be inspected regardless of whether you take it with you or ship it ahead of time.

Eight years I’ve been shipping robots to events and this is a brand-new one to me. I’ve seen VEX robots taken off a red-eye flight at 5:30am that won their first World Championship match at 10am. Don’t know where this started, but don’t believe it.

I think some teams have had issues with condensation forming in their cortex. We have gotten ourselves a pelican case to store our cortex, controller, and a couple spare batteries. We can carry the case around the competition and we eliminate almost every chance of something happening with our cortex.

Some of the teams on long flights from NZ have had issues with it. Not the biggest thing in the world but something to keep in mind when planning the trip.
see post #8.

This is where I heard about this. Thank you for your input. I believe we will be shipping them even though I am much more comfortable with travelling with the robot. 4 years ago another team from our town had their robot lost on the way when they flew with it so i think our teacher wants the robot shipped before hand so if it gets lost in travel, we have time to locate it.

Our team decided to buy a ticket for the robot on the airplane, so that…
…we would have more time for driving/programming before worlds.
…we will not find our robot crushed when we arrive.
…we save money, because an airline ticket is cheaper than many shipping companies.
…we will get weird looks from airline staff :wink:
…two people on the team get better company :smiley: (Yes, this was a joke.)

Extra benefits:
It should also eliminate rough handling, assuming your team is careful with their worlds bot.
A little more luggage; the robot will not need much.

It is suggested to take off the batteries, and call ahead; otherwise your robot might be confiscated. :eek:

Where on the plane do you put the robot??

On the seat. :slight_smile:

Or on your lap. :slight_smile:

Of course there is always the option to just do some driver practice on the flight, and the width of the aisle would probably act as a great sizing tool!

I wouldn’t see where the robot could go other than in the checked baggage conveyor belt to who-knows-where, and eventually into the plane’s cargo hold.

I would recommend placing a camera on the robot, so you can see where you drive it in the baggage processing place, as well as the peoples’ reactions! :smiley: (I would highly recommend not to actually do that)

We are checking ours as luggage, we have 20" square cases, 3/8" plywood with reinforced corners and foam lined. We go early and check them then lock them up. We also have lockable pistol cases for our controllers and laptops. Get a direct flight and it shouldn’t get lost! We fly southwest then they check in free!

Last year we flew our robot with us and we made our own box to carry it in. It was great since we knew where it was all of the time (so we thought). When we arived back at the airport in Virginia and we went to go get our bags we noticed that the robot didn’t make it. We asked the airport staff and they contacted the people from our lay over flight and they said they did not have enough room on the airplane for the robot and said it will arive from the next flight. So we thought okay no big deal, but when it arrived we opened it up and noticed all of the zip ties that was holding the robot in were cut and the base was severly bent.

This is just our story on what happened to us not saying that this is going to happen everytime. So just prepare for the unthinkable.


We get a 20"x20"x20" Pelican Case (Like this) and have our robot fly underneath us. We don’t pick a flight that causes us and the luggage to move planes, that way we don’t risk losing our robot. With Southwest, bags fly free, so our robot was free last year! Southwest is also “decently” gentle with packages.

On our way home, we just mail it back. Make sure to by TSA locks that way they (TSA) don’t have to break into the container if they want to look inside.

Last year, we brought our robot up to the check-in, the lady asked us a few questions, and that was it. No more problems. We LOTS of pictures of the robot on the case so they could see what was inside.

We also packed all of our tools into suit-cases so they could fly free as well. Those went underneath with the robot.

Southwest has been awesome so far! We got our tickets for right under 210!

Has anyone ever shipped their bot by freight through their airline? I’ve had a couple of coaches mention that to me before, wonder if anyone here ever did it.