[Discussion] Reducing robot handler interventions

According to the RoadMap, it is a goal to further reduce the intervention of the robot handlers. One step towards this aim taken in 2020 was to remove the possibility for manual placement of robots and require self-positioning of the robots at any time of the tournament apart from penalty shoot-outs.

I see two main options for further reducing handler interventions:
(i) replace robot handlers with assistant referees (KidSize only) - this would be a setup similar to the SPL where the team can still request a pick-up, but the robot would be picked up from the field and handed to team members by assistant referees. This would particularly prevent teams from picking up robots without permission from the main referee. The required handle and emergency stop button introduced in the previous years should already enable untrained assistants to safely handle the robots.
(ii) Removing robot handlers from the field in AdultSize - in the past, we have enlarged the gap between the robot handlers and their robots in AdultSize. This could either be enlarged further, or the robot handlers could be removed from the field completely. Another option is to only allow one robot handler on the field for two robots.
(iii) Increasing the penalty time - Another option to discourage handler interventions is to prolong the time of a removal penalty. This would make it less attractive for robot handlers to use a pickup of a robot strategically (for example to help the robots localize).

What are your thoughts on these proposals? Are there any options we haven’t considered yet?

I think I speak for many teams when I say that having a stranger handle our robots (option i) is something we’re still not really comfortable with. Yes, it should be easier for an untrained person to handle the robots, but accidents still happen and sorting out the liabilities would be a nightmare if the person that breaks the robot is not at least part of the team. Plus, as most cases where a robot can be removed are the robot malfunctioning, a person that has worked with the robot before and knows all its weird quirks will still be able to handle the robot safer in case of an emergency, compared to an untrained person.

The rules also already specify pretty clearly, when a robot can or cant be picked up, leaving very little room for a strategical pickup, if the rules are enforced. Currently a robot may only be picked up if it is either physically endangering a person, or visibly malfunctioning to a degree of incapability to play. A robot that localizes incorrectly must not be picked up by these rules. I agree, that it might make sense, to increase the penalty time (option iii), but I also think that it is most important to remind the referees of these rules and to correctly penalize robot handlers, if these rules are broken.

I agreee with @sebi that we are not ready for strangers handling our robots due to the reasons he stated.

I believe that the incapable robot rule has been abused in the RoboCup 2021 by team Rhoban by “pretending” to be incapable if the localization was not working properly. Option (iii) would help against this by penalizing this behavior more.

I also think it is also crucial that the current rules are enforced and request for pickup is not granted when it is not allowed by the rules. In my experience they are enforced rather loosely and many pickups which are not covered by the rules are granted.

i) Seems reasonable, we do want independent robots… not robots that are influenced by humans
ii) IMO… like above, if we want to move to independent robots we need to build more durable robots. Let the adult robots fall over… and move to a single robot handler. I understand they’re expensive and I’m from a “Kid size” team… but we need to progress the HW more
iii) Seems like a great idea