Well, that isn't what I expected (flying parts edition)


@DanMantz doesn't believe in additive manufacturing


As passionate as all of the competitive robot teams are about these topics, there are two things to keep in mind:

  1. VEX Robotics and REC Foundation are two different companies. Vex robotics is a for-profit company that makes educational stuff, while REC Foundation is a not-for-profit that runs competitive robotics events. Although they share a close relationship, one does not particularly care about the business of the other.

  2. Competitive robotics, while really fun and exciting, is not where VEX robotics makes their money. If you follow the money, it’s the educational market where the money is, not competition.

  3. You guys have no idea, until you work in industry, just how expensive electronic components for real-world automation really are! If you’ve done FRC, you have a little idea how much more things are, but even FRC is highly subsidized, and uses non-industrial components ( like the “CIM motor” for example).


Oops was wrong about GPS strips included in V5 GPS kit. See Jim Crane’s post later.

just a little correction - GPS Strips are included in the V5 GPS kit. at least that was what was claimed in one of the RECF Summit sessions. This is not to diminish your meme - it was interesting :slight_smile:

Also, I do not think Dan is on GDC - better to have Grant …

It does not appear that this is the case:


Update - Read Jim Crane’s post about GPS strips. They are included only with VAIC kit. VRC V5 GPS sensor and GPS strips are sold separately.

Ignore incorrect info below in this post…
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> @DRow can you check on this - Jim Crane indicated during EP session this was included with each GPS kit. It may be a misunderstanding.
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> The reason this is important to EPs is that we want to provide GPS functionality. If it is beyond programming skills field, then teams could loan strips for events for other fields.
*> *
> I hope I am correct, because it simplifies things for teams and EPs.


Additionally, it was stated here on the forum that the strip would come with the kit:

1 Like

@Illyana Can I get a meme splitting meme details here?’

Hello Everyone,

I believe a couple things got mixed up between VRC and VAIC teams on what they get. I might have mixed up my words when explaining it live.

Here is how it works.
For VAIC teams, when they register a team, they will get 2x GPS sensors, 2x VEX AI 3D Cameras, 1X VEX Code Strips. So the VAIC teams will all have a code strip, but just 1.

For anyone who purchases a GPS sensor for their robot (even VAIC teams if they choose to have another one), these GPS do NOT come with Code Strips. If you think about it, some people might choose to put multiple GPS sensors on their robots. They would not want the cost of a Code Strip to be included with the sensor. Because a team might have a practice field and 3 GPS sensors on their robot. But their field only needs the 1 Code Strip.

Now, the last thing about these Code Strips is that we at the REC Foundation don’t ever like to spring an additional charge to our Event Partners. Because there was really no advanced notice, we are providing every Event Partner who hosts a VRC event, 1 VEX Code Strip. We will enable this discount in their account in Robot Events, and they can place it in their cart with everything else they need, like trophies. The discount will zero the price of 1 Code Strip once. The EP then pays the shipping, just like they do for Trophies and Program Banners.

Hopefully, this clears up all confusion. It is new, and new to us at the REC Foundation as well, and I totally could have misspoke about it. For that, I am sorry.

Jim Crane
Director of Developing Programs
Program Manager for VAIC
Bunch of other stuff too


Certainly does clear up a lot. Thanks!


Wow, just wow! I don’t know about others, but I was the most impressed by this line:

A whirlwind of emotions run through my mind.

First, I thought it was very telling, and that vex must have discussed it internally, and they didn’t think it was crazy to have 3 GPS sensor on one robot.

Why? Is it because one GPS sensor is bad at finding robot position and you need three? Is it only bad on the crowded match fields? Or is it so bad, that you will need more than one even on the predictable skills field?

Next, I multiplied $199 x 3 and started fuming mad and regretting every cent I spent on vex. Mad at the audacity of them telling us that it wouldn’t be a fair “level playing field” for a high school club of several teams to share a $300-$400 3D printer. While, at the same time, writing game rules such that you pretty much have to kiss you chances of qualifying to Worlds goodbye, unless you get $500 worth of pneumatics and $600-$800 worth of extra sensors to match the wealthy rich teams in your area.

As I was running out of fumes, I begun to marvell at the Robinhoodian qualities of recf and vex setup. Where the rich teams are more than happy to throw the wads of cash at them for the illusory chance to get an edge on the good well funded teams, which recf could then use to sponsor GirlPowered teams from the disadvantaged areas.

So, remember rich bois, you are not wasting your parents money by putting 5 GPS sensors on your robot to show off - you are doing a noble deed of supporting a GirlPowered team from across the town.

And, if their mentor is smart, they will invest their saved limited money into an affordable 3D printer to benefit all kids in the school.


I too am a bit concerned that the notion of a team wanting 3 gps sensors on one robot is considered a possibility.

That is quite a price, and while I’m sure the difference that 3 gps sensors would make is nowhere near essential to win matches, if it could be worth doing than you can be sure that some teams with excess funding will do it.

But at the same time, the idea that one gps sensor might not be good enough for reliable field tracking might indicate that the gps sensor isn’t a worthy replacement for odometry at all. After the vision sensor I am pretty skeptical about any camera-based sensors, I’d much rather put my trust in sensors I know to work reliably.

Again, I do want to wait to see how effective this gps sensor is before bashing the price, it could very well be inconsequential if odometry remains the cheaper and more effective tracking solution. But if it turns out that having 3 gps sensor on a robot gives a major advantage over odometry or even just 1 gps sensor, then I think the price could be problematic.


Perhaps this was a typo where what was meant was an organization with 1 practice field shared by 3 teams. The org may purchase 3 GPS sensors so each team could use them, while only needing a single field strip.


I personally have a feeling that’s there’s absolutely no way 1 gps sensor is going to cut it. Not unless you put that sensor on a swivel or something outright ridiculous. 3 seems like it might be a little much, because really you just need to figure out your horizontal and vertical position on a 2D plane, so unless you’re wanting security in the case of one being momentarily blocked, but there’s no way only using 1 gps is going to be better than odometry in any situation.

I would almost hope so, but

this makes it sound like there is absolutely a situation where they full on expect teams to use more than one.


don’t think so. It’s clear that robots using more than one gps is something that is being considered as a possibility.

But I’d take that with a grain of salt until the reliability of the sensor is known because there have been other sensors (vision mostly) that were marketed as something you’d want to have potentially multiple of on your bot always, but in reality are near-useless to most teams.


At the same time, with one GPS sensor being the cost of 2.5 vision sensors, you would hope that it would be worth at least something other than a glorified inertial sensor that can’t even identify field strips specifically tailored for it.

@Illyana @Xenon27 @LuxembourgIsACountry

I think you all are overreacting, and are completely missing the point that @Jim_Crane is making. Nowhere did he imply that the GPS is unreliable to the point of needing 3 sensors in order to have reliable tracking. There are legititmiate reason to have multiple GPS sensors on your robot, or to have multiple GPSes in an organization, especially when considering the main application of the GPS, VAIC. In these scenarios there is no need to force every customer buying the GPS to also buy another set of field code strips, especially if they already have a set. Breaking up bundles like that offers more freedom to the customer and is a good thing.

As for scenarios where you might want multiple GPSes, here’s a few I can think of off the top of my head:

  • You have intakes on both sides of your robots, and thus want to have a GPS on 2 opposing side of your robot in order to ensure you always have tracking, even when very close to a wall
  • In VAIC, you want to ensure that an opponent (or partner) robot driving in front of the sensor (or other obstruction) does not remove your ability to know where you are on the field. Given the interactive nature of VAIC, having some way of handling your GPS being obstructed is essential, and having additional, redundant GPSes is one way to do that.

I hope people do not freak out too much about the statement of having 3 GPS sensors, thinking it is a get rich quick scam. My understanding you can also have 2GPS sensors - or 4 - knock yourself out. The use case for multiple is where you might have occlusion issues and dont want to have a loss of location situation. That should be extremely rare, but time will tell.

As noted by Mentor_355 the point was more “well do you really want a whole bunch of GPS strips laying around?”. If VEX did ship GPS strips with every sensor, you are sure there will be teams/organizations unhappy because they are paying for strips they do not need or want.

As an EP, I am happy to make sure the Skills fields have GPS strips. Also, may be worth having on competition fields as well in the long run. Why? Well to let VAIC have opportunity to show their creations. Much like letting VEX-U teams come to events and do skills runs like in the past.

For my middle school teams, I am not planning on getting V5 GPS sensor, they will have enough opportunities using other sensors. Also, pretty sure will be hearing someone asking for pneumatics…


I don’t mean to say that having 3 gps sensors would be necessary to have a functional tracking system based off of them, in fact I think if that were the case the sensor would be near-useless. I just mean to point out that it might not be worth the cost if it does take more than one to use them with better reliability than odometry.

of course, and I definitely don’t think they should require you to buy strips with the sensor. I simply meant to point out that if multiple gps sensors are needed in the case of a crowded field with many obstructions, they might not be worth the price. (and to a lesser extent if it so happens that with 2 or 3 of these sensors a robot can crush odometry, which I do find unlikely, it could be a cost issue for some teams)

I personally have no plans to get the sensors myself, and I don’t think they will be changing how robots are programmed very much. Odometry can already be used with good levels of reliability and precision, which is why I’m not particularly worried that the gps could give well funded teams even more of an advantage over less funded teams. At least not unless multiple sensors per robot actually ends up being incredibly important, which I seriously doubt.


I think it’s also worth responding to this unnecessarily inflammatory and frankly ridiculous post. To throw around such unsubstantiated and unnecessary accusations without even considering the legitimate meanings of the words you are responding to has no place on this forum. You don’t even personally know that the GPS is bad!

In the future I suggest you take some time to cool down before posting in a public channel, especially when you have a “whirlwind of emotions” running through your mind.


Again, I think you are missing the primary use case for the GPS: VAIC. In VAIC, you need position tracking that is relatively accurate for a full 2 minute duration of a match, even after potentially encountering heavy defense. In general, a position system that uses fixed points of reference around the field is going to fulfil that job much more effectively and precisely than an odometry system is.