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Off The Grid

(Courtesy of SA BEST)

The game field represents a damaged electrical grid that needs repair.  The field includes a diagonal row of high voltage towers where 345KV power lines need to be installed to complete multiple circuits.  On the center tower there are poles where 138KV power lines need to be installed to bridge between the high voltage transmission lines and other areas of the grid.  Large square substation transformers are needed near the edge towers for the high voltage line and near the 138KV poles.  Conduit is to be installed in underground trenches (surrounded by ramps) that allows the connection of 13KV circuits to the periphery of the field.  Distribution power poles near houses along the edge of the field provide support for 4KV power lines.  The installation of cylindrical residential transformers is also needed on the power poles near the houses.  In addition to installing and repairing the grid components there is debris cluttering the area that needs to be removed. As a new twist to this year�s game robots are also tasked with autonomously delivering spare insulators from the starting area to one or more of the high-voltage towers.

Most scoring areas are shared and are accessible by all teams on a first-come basis. Only the following scoring areas are assigned to a specific team:
  • Conduit trench.
  • Debris staging area and debris bin.
  • Residential (4KV) power line.
  • The lowest high-voltage (345KV) power line.
To allow proper identification of which team scored in the common scoring areas many of the team-assigned game pieces are color coded to match the team.  A summary of the shared and team-assigned game pieces is contained in the table that follows that also details the initial location of the game pieces.


Shared Items

Team Items

Starting Location

345 KV Transmission Line



Attached to Corner Tower and on Ground

138 KV Distribution Line



Equipment Stores

4KV Residential Line



Attached to Corner Pole

13KV Conduit Pipes



Equipment Stores

Substation Transformer



Transformer Skid

Residential Transformer



Transformer Skid

Spare Insulator



Equipment Stores

Ground Debris



On Field

345KV Corner Tower - Initial Line Position
345KV Towers with Lines Installed

Other than autonomous delivery parts (discussed later) scoring is based on the position of the item at the end of the match. The 345KV and 4KV lines are scored based on the number of segments that have been properly installed where a segment is supported by two hooks/insulators. The 138KV lines are scored per connection made but the second connection must be to the corresponding spot on the opposite pole. Conduit must lay flat within a trench to score.  Transformers are scored by either being properly installed in the base pad or mounted to the residential pole depending on the type of transformer. Ground debris can be scored by placing it into the staging area or into the debris bin.  Point values for the various scoring actions are detailed in the table that follows.

Scoring Action
Point Value
Maximum Points
345KV Line - Lower Segment connected 50
345KV Line - Middle Segment connected 70
345KV Line - High Segment connected 100
138KV Distribution Line Connected
138KV Distribution Line Segment connected 80
4KV Residential Line Segment connected 30x
13KV Conduit Installed in trench
Substation Transformer Installed in pad
Residential Transformer Installed on pole
Spare Insulator Autonomous delivery
Ground Debris Moved to staging area
Ground Debris Placed in debris bin

Autonomous scoring can happen at any point during a match.  Although black and white roads are provided to help robots find their way to the scoring towers, robots are not required to follow the lines.  The sequence required for a robot to make an autonomous delivery attempt is summarized as:
  1. The robot (flag) is located in starting box, and the driver notifies the referee that the team intends to attempt an autonomous delivery.
  2. The driver places joystick on the transmitter shelf.
  3. One (and only one) spare insulator is loaded onto the robot by the lineman (spotter).
  4. The driver initiates an automatic operation (without lifting the joystick) that causes the robot to operate without human interaction.
  5. To score, the insulator must not be touching robot and must break the plane of the base of the tower (and remain) prior to the end of the autonomous operation and the end of the match.
  6. The autonomous period ends when the driver touches the joystick again.
The following bonus score opportunities exist in addition to the scoring elements previously described:
  • 50 points: For delivery to both autonomous sites.
  • 100 points: Flexibility bonus for completion of all of the items:
  1. Connecting one segment of any power line.
  2. Filling one conduit trench (three pipes).
  3. Installing one substation transformer.
  4. Placing one debris item into the dumpster.

Residential Lines - Installed
Transformer Skid