Robots and wifi

Year after year we as a league strive for better gameplay, and the rules seek to promote and support this, but as a result there is an archaic rule that can no longer be supported:

Line 393: The robots must not rely on availability or quality of the wireless network. They must be able to play if the network is not available or of low quality.

Of low quality maybe, but not if there is none available at all. Game controller, free kicks, auto-positioning, drop-in games, increasing numbers of robots on the field at a time, new restrictions on how robots can be interfaced, configured and started… The requirements of the rules are no longer compatible with the absence of a wireless network, and should in fairness thus, like the SPL rules, not have this backdoor built into them anymore. If a team has concerns about the quality of a wireless network then a standardised test with a laptop or wifi scanner can be performed to verify and prove the quality of the network.

In reference to line 410, does “current game state of the robots” include all the kinds of information that the game controller provides, such as for example whose kickoff it is? If so, how is gameplay supposed to work at all if there is no wifi or the game controller is out of order?

We invite a concrete proposal how a team of game controller-less robots are supposed to be able to comply with the rules, such as for example in terms of free kicks (not going for the ball until ‘told’, leaving 50cm of space, etc), and knowing which team has the kickoff or when a goal has been scored. In a team with 3-4 robots it is also to be explained how the robot handler should start all robots (possibly metres apart) while complying with the rules. Even further, the proposal must explain when a goal is scored how the robot handler is to catch 3-4 running robots and transport, reset and restart them in time for the kick-off a few seconds later. If this is not possible, then there is no choice but to guarantee the existence of wifi in the rules, even if not of assured good quality.

I do agree that it becomes too challenging with the new rules to participate in the game without listening to the game controller. Can you give a reference to the SPL rules where they specify what happens if no WiFi is available? Is the game postponed in that case?

We believe the relevant section of the SPL rules is:

3.12 Referee Timeout
The head official may call a timeout at any stoppage of play if he or she deems it necessary. A referee timeout should only be called in dire circumstances — one example might be when the power to the wireless router is down. However, when and whether to call a referee timeout is left up to the head referee.

Referees may call multiple timeouts during a game if needed. Teams may do anything during these timeouts, but they must be ready to play 2 minutes after the referee begins a timeout. The referee should end the timeout once he or she believes the circumstance for which the timeout was called has been resolved. In cases where the circumstance for which the timeout was called is not resolved within 10 minutes, the chair of the technical committee should be consulted regarding when/if play should continue.

The team who would have kicked off if the timeout had not been called shall kickoff when the game resumes.