Why is VAIC Registration so Expensive? A Cost Breakdown

The registration cost for the VEX AI Competition (VAIC) is $2500. This seems exceptionally high to both myself and a number of other teams who are interested in VAIC. The “Coming Soon” page on the VEX website lists the off the shelf components and sensors that will come as part of each VAIC team’s registration. Using this information as well as other sources such as the VAIC announcement video (and some estimated guesses), we can roughly determine the models of parts that will be used. Here is a list, along with an estimated total cost:
As you can see, the total works out to roughly $1200 for both robots. Let’s assume that VEX is charging for their software and AI models, so we’ll add $300, bringing the total to $1500. That still leaves an extra $1000 in registration fees that are unclear in what they are going towards. If teams were automatically registered for the world championship, that would account for the majority of that figure, however this has never been stated.

@Jim_Crane @levipope Could we get an official cost breakdown for the $2500 VAIC registration, and also an answer as to whether it includes worlds registration?


I thought the amount of teams allowed on vex AI was limited so they only have so many teams that will be allowed in and they probably want to make as much money as possible while filling up all the spots. This is just speculation but it seems pretty reasonable.

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Having a limited number of spots (which is indeed the case) does not justify having an unjustifiably exorbitant cost of entry.


Like I said they’re trying to make the most money while filling all the spots up. If not enough people sign up it is very likely that they will lower the price for next year. Take these words with a grain of salt but vex is a for profit company.

The RECF is the one collecting the registration fees and they are a nonprofit. VEX being a for profit company is not relevant here.


Like I said just speculation and then what’s the point of the extra 1000$ charged

For whoever flagged my post, I think you were correct. I had a bit of dyslexia/understanding issue so I thought the extra $1000 said in OP’s post implied that the OP had to pay $1000 just to get the team registered. My apologies. But I am assuming that the electronics is a pay once, keep forever type of thing. Replacements for those items will be almost unnecessary. So next season it should be exceptionally less.

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No one knows how next season is going to work at this point.

The model for this season is that you pay the $2500 registration fee, which gets you the VAIC-specific electronics as part of your registration kit.

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wait… you mean the confirmed list of vaic teams are out?!

No, not as far as I know at least. This information has been out for a while, and the question in the OP wasn’t answered in the Event Partner Summit session about VAIC that took place today.


Phew… I thought we missed out on this again… :stuck_out_tongue:

anyway, back to topic - regarding the cost.
I presume the cost of $2500 includes the registration fees for worlds?
if it does, then I’d think that the cost kind of add up nicely.


Agreed. However it’s never been stated. Also registering for worlds in September might be a big premature. You might find the challenge so complicated you don’t even want to take your robots to worlds. (because traveling is considerable cost) Do you get back your 1000$?



RECF just confirmed that all VAIC teams will be invited to Worlds for this year (the pilot year).


While I’m at it, here are some more details about VAIC that were just revealed at the EP Summit:

  • All VAIC teams for this pilot year will be invited to Worlds. (as I said above)
  • HS and college teams may play together at local events, similar to how blended VRC events (MS and HS together) work.
  • At Worlds, HS and college teams will have separate divisions.
  • The Excellence Award rubric for VAIC will be slightly different, but the details are not available at this time.
  • It will be up to EPs to decide what awards to give out at VAIC events.


(Sorry for the slight tangent from the point of this thread, but it should be relevant enough)


Invited meaning qualified or invited meaning registration waived?


It wasn’t clear. One would expect that the Worlds registration fee is made up from the unaccounted ≈$1000 in the program registration fee, but this wasn’t confirmed.


Well lucky the plane to ticket to worlds is pretty cheap right now : )

well… it is still money… no matter how cheap it is.
and there is still a need to explain to parents if the tickets are bought and we can’t go worlds.

think @tabor473 has a valid point - if the registration package includes worlds registration, will there be a refund if (touch wood) it is still not safe for travelling in 2021?
think all these will need to be spelled out upfront, so that it will be fair to all parties.
(I mean… even if REC says there will be no refund, at least the teams will be making a conscious choice when they are signing up for VAIC).


I feel the need to echo this. It makes it very difficult for us non-US organizations to justify paying the registration, because not only does worlds need to happen, but we need to be authorized by the relevant authorities to go. What if our institution doesn’t permit international travel by then? (Ours currently does not). What if the border is closed then? (The Canada-US one currently is closed for non-essential travel). What if it’s simply not reasonably safe enough, but the powers that be don’t make the call to cancel the event? (Texas will be Texas).

I’m not expecting the RECF to promise insurance over these possibilities, but I don’t see how any international team would currently be able to justify registration with the information that is known right now—especially because there aren’t even any concrete plans for a regular season for VAIC.

That said, these problems are not insurmountable, and I do hope that we can see a successful pilot season in which as many people as possible are able to participate.


@Jim_Crane @levipope Just wondering if we could get an answer to this question; myself and a lot of other people interested in VAIC would like to have an understanding of what is or isn’t being paid for before we commit to doing VAIC