Why is VEX / RECF neglecting their biggest customers?

There are more VEX IQ teams than VRC teams. I can’t find published numbers, but in my state the number of IQ teams is almost double VRC.

What are the new products? Hint: https://www.vexrobotics.com/coming-soon

The majority of the customers are VEX IQ. What are they getting this year? A tool to pull pins (which isn’t really new) and a field upgrade that they have to get or they can’t play. It’s good, but not exciting.

The Vision Sensor still isn’t legal for competition use, and the design of the game this year would make it useless anyway.

VRC gets AI and a bunch of sensors. We get more products for kids who are too young for IQ.

And if you do want cool IQ parts, you have to harvest them out of Hexbug kits???

Where’s the love for IQ?


I think the vex is focusing more on vrc because they released a new v5 system for it, so they’re actively trying to develop and improve it.


U sure bou dat?


In my personal experience, 12,500 is greater than 11,425. When VEXU is added, there are many more teams that use EDR parts than use IQ parts.


I also want to add that iq is supposed to be simple and accessible for younger students. if you start adding complex sensors and stuff, it might create a very large skill gap between middle schoolers and elementary schoolers, much larger than the middle school and high school gap in vrc.
I can’t really speak for the quality of vexiq parts and sensors, because I never participated in iq, but as an outsider iq already seems like a pretty well polished system. I could be very wrong though.


There are lots of different ways to count teams - per season, per year, per rolling 12 months from a given point, all of which will give you different numbers. Give or take, there is the same number of teams in each program (VRC and VIQC) so you can split hairs, but @sankeydd has a point. IQ hasn’t ever really had many new products, just tweaks. That said, IMHO it doesn’t need much either. I’d be interested to know what products the IQ community would like to see though. I’d like a better distance sensor, maybe IR rather than ultrasonic.


I’ve talked to some REC folks before. The rate of growth of IQ vastly outpaces that of VRC, and within a year or two, maybe a bit more, I think IQ will be larger than VRC.


OPEN MOUTH INSERT FOOT… or maybe not???

I dug this up out of the event partner summit from last year. It does not have information from the current year, and given the rate I would not be surprised if IQ has caught up.


From: https://www.roboticseducation.org/documents/2019/08/ep-summit-2019-opening-presentation.pdf/

I had to estimate a little but, but these numbers and growth numbers and raw new teams:

Year IQ VRC/U Total IQ Growth VRC Growth IQ new teams VRC New Teams
1819 11425 12775 24200 39.3% 7.4% 3225 875
1718 8200? 11900? 20100 32.3% 0.6% 2000 70
1617 6200? 11830? 18030 55.0% 11.7% 2200 1238
1516 4000? 10592? 14592 73.9% 17.6% 1700 1583
1415 2300? 9009? 11309

If anyone has numbers from this year I would be curious. But as far as I can tell here, there is a high probability that there were more IQ teams than VRC in the 19-20 year. VRC only had about a 1500 team advantage, but for the past two years the difference was greater than that margin.

IN ANY CASE, there are many more NEW IQ teams than VRC.



I’d like:

Laser rangefinder
inertial sensor (assuming the hardware can handle it)
Anything that would measure rotation other than the encoders in the motors.


I think the reasoning behind this is that Vex IQ is a relatively well established product, while EDR definitely needed either more smarts sensors, or the 3-wire expander. (VEX delivered on both!) The 8 3-wire port limit, combined with the fact that none of the legacy sensors had a smart equivalent, was a limiting factor for certain EDR teams. I think the attention VEX has given to EDR is well justified, and has been well received.

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Maybe IQ has more customers but VRC definitely brings in a lot more money and developing products requires a lot of money. I’d estimate that most vrc teams spend around 2k on their robot and then they also have to pay for a field which is IIRC 1k or something like that. Then they also have to pay $500 for game elements (which are probably not worth that much imo).

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The current distance sensor could definitely do with a rethink. What would VIQC kids use an inertial sensor for? Just playing devils advocate.
Rotation - yeah, maybe but I’m struggling to think of a time when the motor encoders have been inadequate but that does often need a coding solution. An absolute rotation sensor would be good I definitely agree.


Considering how the ports are very similar, could v5 sensors be used for iq?

Different comms protocols. IQ uses I2C, pretty sure V5 is all RS-485.


you’re my favorite person @sankeydd


Yet their largest customer is project lead the way not vex iq


Majority of customers are for vex iq because it’s cheap. Also, it’s supposed to be an introduction to vrc. Kind of like how people decide to learn blocks before text programming. If students are overwhelmed with sensors and tech at the elementary level, how can they be expected to stick around. Being thrown into the deep end with little guidance is unmotivating and just pushes people away. If even argue that that’s the primary reason why vex is adding so many new sensors to vrc, so it’s easier to get into. I can get behind having new sensors and components in vex iq, but it has to be cheap, effective, and easy to use. Adding in sensors that are already 50 dollars in vrc isn’t gonna help that.

So I want to ask, @sankeydd, seen as you are the OP, what would you like to add to vex iq? (On top of rotation sensors)


Not to mention that the connectors are a different size and shape, and have a different number of pins (V5 connectors are 4-pin, IQ connectors are 6-pin, IIRC).

That said, they could develop sensors in the future that can talk over both I2C and RS485, and have ports for both connectors, like the vision sensor does. But on the other hand, that additional complexity might not be worth the trade-offs for smaller or simpler sensors.


Also vex generates way, way more profit from vrc and vex pro (which is used by vexU) than vex IQ, so they want to make more smart sensors for vrc to make VEX look better and more professional, more like FRC, and that encourages more high end private schools to get into VRC which then gets them to buy the way more expensive parts. They don’t need to do this for IQ because the only competition it’s facing is LEGO and it’s already more advanced and has higher prestige (I think correct me if I’m wrong) than the Lego competitions


In FLL, you can only use up to 4 motors and 4 sensors max. Plus, FLL is only programming, not driving & programming. And you can compete in more comps as a noob team in IQ than in FLL.


V5 systems had to be backwards compatible because it was released when it was incomplete. That’s not really a feature. It would be nice for them to just sell a complete system, but for some reason it took them more than 2 years to develop the sensors for the V5… That may ship in 8 weeks…

Why would VRC bring in more money? The cost of the super kit (your base for IQ) has increased by at least $50 in tha last couple of years. If you look across their product lines, there is a ton of room for profit in IQ.

In the past 5 years you see 8000 new IQ teams and 2000 VRC teams. You really think that VEX doesn’t know how to set their prices appropriately?

Do you have any numbers for that?

Do you have any numbers for that? The majority of kids that I work with in IQ do not go on to do robotics in high school.

Yes, but kids can do IQ for many more years than they would VRC. If you start in 4th grade with IQ you can do it for 5 years through 8th grade, and now that you can do it in 9th grade even more kids will just age out with IQ and be done with it.

So if you are working with VEX IQ for 5-6 years you definitely should have something a little more advanced to work with. GDC could create a game that uses the vision sensor, which is not new tech at this point and already is compatible with IQ out of the box. In fact, all of the new V5 sensors could come with an IQ port like the vision sensor. That may not be financially feasible, but certainly should be considered.

On top of everything else, a big frustration is that I can’t buy the parts I want. They have a legal parts appendix that lists all of the pieces that you can use on your bot. But a lot of those pieces aren’t for sale. They only way to get them is to find the hexbug kit that has them. It’s not always exotic stuff either. I know that 3x3 connector pins exist, I’ve just never seen one. I understand that I may have to buy a kit with some like pieces that I don’t need, but it’s perplexing that I can’t buy a part that I want off of the VEX IQ page on VEX Robotics.

REC Foundation makes their money off of team registrations. They will get more from IQ, if they haven’t already. (20-21 will be an anomaly for sure.)

As far as VEX Robotics, over the past three years, IQ has 8000 new teams and VRC has 2000. I’m sure V5 made them a lot of money, but on an ongoing basis, I think that selling 4x the number of kits will make them more money. I don’t know how their profit margins look, but VEX is a business and if they are good at what they do they will make more off of selling 4x as much stuff. Candy bars don’t cost much for the consumer, but they are 50% profit. The lower the price of the product, the greater you can mark it up and still make it affordable.

Not improving because of lack of competition is a recipe for disaster. I’m going to suppose that you didn’t have the privilege of driving an American car built between 1970 and 1990. When the auto industry didn’t think they had competition they went to sleep… And they got it handed to them. Just because VEX is the best doesn’t mean they can’t be better.