This past weekend, April 1-3, Raider Robotix competed in our second Mid-Atlantic Region District Competition at Bridgewater-Raritan High School.
In the four weeks since our robot’s debut at our first competition, the team worked to improve several aspects of the machine. In our first matches of the season, we noticed a significant amount of drift accumulating in the gyro we had been using, which caused the robot to not always drive straight in autonomous. To remedy this, we sourced a NavX sensor board, which contains a much more accurate gyro. We also added an ultrasonic sensor to the front of the robot for increased field awareness.
The second major change we made was improving the robot’s hanging mechanism. We removed the hanger from the robot at the end of the first day of competition at Hatboro because there was too much binding and friction in the system despite our attempts to lubricate it. We added needle bearing rollers to the mast sections and a pair of wheels mounted at the base of the mast to help the robot ride up the wall as it’s lifted.
After arriving at Bridgewater-Raritan HS Friday afternoon, we immediately started the inspection process. Evil Machine 14 weighed in at 117.5lbs. After tweaking some sensor values on the practice field, we participated in a practice match to verify everything was working correctly and had our first successful scale of the event!
Throughout the qualification rounds on Saturday and Sunday, our team went 9-3-0. Overall, we seeded 2nd with 36 ranking points. Our only 3 loses were to Team 1257 – Parallel Universe from Scotch Plains, NJ, who ended up seeding first.
During Sunday’s alliance selection, Team 1257 invited us to join them on the #1 alliance as the first overall selection of the draft. We then invited Team 3340 – UCHS MagneGeeks from Union City, NJ to round out the alliance. During our third semi final match, we had to bring in the backup robot Team 555 – Montclair Robotics from Montclair, NJ to replace 3340. Together, we advanced to the finals, but ultimately lost two matches to the 7th seeded alliance and finished the event as finalists.
During the awards ceremony, the judges awarded our team the Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors. Here is what they had to say about our robot:
The Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively addresses the game challenge. Their product and process reflect the mission of FIRST, by demonstrating sound technology development from start to finish.
This team can do it all, breach the defenses, pummel the tower with boulders, and scale the tower with force. Their program eloquently executes in autonomous mode, and their tires scrub the competition. This robot is reliable, robust, and they scale the tower with 7.14 stones of force at 7 degrees beyond vertical.
Our robot’s performance on the playing field also caught the attention of a representative from Picatinny Arsenal who was looking for two new teams to sponsor. As a result, our team will receive a $6,000 sponsorship for next year! Thank you Picatinny Arsenal! We’re looking forward to the start of a great partnership.
After our showing at our second district event, we are ranked 9th overall out of the 121 teams in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Our standing qualifies us to compete against 59 other top teams at the Mid-Atlantic District Championship April 14-16. Our performance at the District Championship will determine if we qualify for the FRC World Championship in St. Louis at the end of the month!