Over the past decade, FIRST® Tech Challenge has continued to grow, serving the FIRST mission of creating excitement and exposing students to the wonderful world of science, technology, engineering and math. With growth, must come change, as most of our community has seen through our evolution of robot technology. We continue to work to make this program more accessible and affordable, while still engaging and challenging students of all skill levels.
Since the 2015 season, FIRST Tech Challenge has moved away from a centralized control system to the Android based platform you see today. The increased reliability of the Android based/REV platform, is allowing us to improve the flow of the matches. We are making significant and exciting changes that teams and volunteers need to be aware of for the 2017-2018 season.
Autonomous to Driver Controlled Transition
Starting in the 2017-2018 season, there will no longer be a hard stop following the autonomous period to transition to the driver controlled period of the match. Once the autonomous portion of the match ends, the emcee/game announcer will tell the teams to pick up their driver station. As a visual cue, the scoring system will display to teams that they must pick up their driver station. Teams will only have 5 seconds to pick up their driver station, so they should make sure to pay close attention! After the 5 seconds, there will be a 3-2-1 countdown and the driver controlled period of the match will begin right away.
Why make the change?
- Since the reliability of our technology has come so far, the large gap between autonomous and driver controlled periods of the match is no longer necessary.
- The game design doesn’t require field reset between the autonomous and driver controlled periods.
- The shortened break between autonomous to driver controlled period increases engagement by keeping the excitement of the match going.
- The shortened break will encourage teams to build smarter and create sturdier robots, that can move successfully from autonomous to driver controlled unhindered.
What does this mean to teams?
Teams must remember is to keep an eye on the match timer display, and listen for the cues from the Emcee or Game Announcer to pick up their driver stations. The transition will happen quickly, and the scoring system will automatically run the rest of the match. Since the robots are not tied directly to the scoring system, teams must make sure they are ready to run their driver controlled programs after the 3-2-1 countdown.
How does this impact the number of matches played?
This will not impact the number of matches played at an event. From League Meets to State Championships, teams will still be able to play between 5 and 6 matches, depending on the specific tournament. Teams will still receive a minimum of 7 minutes between each match. Super Regionals and World Championship events will have additional matches. The number of matches at these events will be announced at a later date.
Up righting/Untangling/Reconnecting Robots
Because of the shortened transition from autonomous to driver controlled period, field personnel will no longer enter the field to upright or untangle any robots. Robots that have lost connections will not be reconnected by the Field Technical Adviser. Teams should take this into consideration when building and designing their robot.
If you have any questions about the new changes to our match play format please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Relic Recovering!
Click here to watch the New Changes to Match Play video on YouTube!