Park & Shoot: Eliminating Variables

Everyone loves a game where we have to collect game pieces and throw them into a goal. Every single time we have one of these games there are teams who design their robots to shoot from multiple or even infinite amount of locations on the field. Taking the time to review what the field has to offer can often simplify a robots design while making it more effective. It’s no secret that things go wrong on the competition field, so why leave so many variables on table. Enter the concept of Park & Shoot.

  1. Carefully review the field elements and their locations in relation to the scoring goals. Stationary objects that you can directly drive against are best, but often tape lines or other field elements may work as well.
  2. Model these locations in whatever you have available: CAD, white board (to scale), pencil and paper, chalk etc.
  3. Determine which ones are feasible based on geometry and prototyping, expect 1-3 locations to be ideal.
  4. Work through the detail design of your robot maximizing the potential of these locations.
  5. Profit.

Why is this great? Simplified mechanical design, reduced reliance on sensors, increased repeat-ability, and more driver friendly. A sound design philosophy is to design a robot that can successfully play the game with the need for sensors, allow the addition of them to take the robots abilities to the next level. Teams often struggle with designing an effective robot within their teams resources and capabilities. Use the concept of Park & Shoot to maximize your results. Now to take a look back in time at some teams who used this effectively:

2006 “Ramp Camping” – Prime Examples: 71, 229 Here’s a small taste of what 229 was known for back in 2006; brutal defensive driving and climbing up on the ramp to empty their hopper. A number of teams took advantage of this shooting location, as it was increasing difficult to stop a team from scoring once they were on top of the ramp. Though defense could be played by stopping them from getting their, or keeping them their after they scored. Keep this is mind when you pick your shooting locations.

Because this was one amazing year, take a look at FRC71 unloading their entire robot in one continuous firing assault.

2012 “Fendering Shooting” – Prime Examples: 548, 2168 FRC548 was one of the teams in 2012 to break the mold and build an arm for a shooting year, and it really worked out in their favor. Along with this arm design, parking against the fender absolutely minimized the distance to the hoop, increasing their accuracy. The key in Rebound Rumble offered both protection and a method of lining up, but many teams took advantage of the fender when they could to lock in.

2013 “Pyramid Pounding” – Prime Examples: 610, 2056 Here’s a video of FRC610 doing their thing on Einstein. They were one of the premier cycling robots in the world. The pyramid in 2013 offered two major locations to shoot from, the front and the rear. Other locations included shooting from directly against the drivers station (on either side of the field). Full court shooting was a major factor for a lot of alliances.

2014 “Low Goal Shooting” – Prime Examples: 254, 125 And to round things out a little action from New England with FRC125 parking against the low goal and firing the ball into the upper goal. The open field of Ariel Assist left few “safe” places to shoot from. The only “safe” spots were directly against the drivers station wall, or more ideally based on the geometry of shooting into the high goal, against the low goal. During tele-op and autonomous the lines on the field offered a point of reference for driveteams to align with, but left teams vulnerable to aggressive defense.

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