T.O.R.C. competes each season as FRC Team 2137.
The FRC competition season starts every year on the first Saturday in January through a special event know as Kickoff. Through the kickoff, the season's game design and rules are released simultaneously across the world. After Kickoff, all teams have 6 week to develop strategy, design and built their robot for use in competition play. At the end of the 6 weeks the robot is sealed in a bag and teams are limited to a few short intervals of time they may work on the robot to make revisions outside of competition events.
Through FIM, T.O.R.C. attends two qualifiers, called district events. At event, teams earn points from robot performance and judged awards. Based on ranking points earned through the two competitions, the team then advances to the State Championship (at Saginaw Valley State University). Performance at States then determines if the team advances to the World Competition in Detroit.
For the 2018-2019 season T.O.R.C. is already pre-qualified to attend the World competition through winning the Engineering Inspiration Award at the 2017-2018 World Competition.
At each competition teams compete in two areas Robot Performance and Judged Awards.
For robot performance, teams compete through two phases of matches, qualifications and playoffs.
In a match teams compete as a part of 3 on 3 alliances to have their robots work together to complete tasks that earn points. For the first 15 seconds the robots act autonomously through programming before students drivers and operators pick up controls to maneuver their robots through the remaining 135 seconds of play culminating in a final end game task to be completed. At the end of the match the alliance that earns the most points is declared the winner and the teams of that alliance earn Match Points based on the tasks completed.
It sounds simple but each years game presents multiple challenging ways to earn points that require strategy and coordination based on the strengths of the robots in an alliance in order to do well. Alliances may also employ defensive strategies to prevent the opposing alliance from scoring. Though too much or too aggressive defense actions often lead to penalties.
During the qualification phase, teams participate in a series of matches where the alliances are randomly pre-selected at the start of the event. At the end of qualifications, teams are ranked by the Match Points earned before moving forward to the playoff stage.
Playoffs start with a process know as Alliance Selection. During this process the top 8 teams take turns selecting 2 other teams to form their playoff alliance based on knowledge of the other teams through prior matches and their strategy for how the robots will work together to win matches. The playoff alliances then proceed through a series of best 2 out of 3 elimination rounds until one alliance emerges as the Winner of the event. The alliance that makes it to the final elimination round but does not win is also recognized as the Finalist of the event.
In addition to Robot Performance, teams also compete for awards they are evaluated on by the judges throughout the days of the event. These awards for the 2018-2019 season include:
Autonomous Award Sponsored by Ford - Celebrates the team that has demonstrated consistent, reliable, high-performance robot operation during autonomously managed actions. Evaluation is based on the robot’s ability to sense its surroundings, position itself or onboard mechanisms appropriately, and execute tasks.
Chairman’s Award - The most prestigious award at FIRST, it honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST.
Creativity Award Sponsored by Xerox - Celebrates creativity in design, use of component, or strategy of play.
Digital Animation Award Sponsored by Automation Direct.com - Celebrates the art of the digital animation and its close relationship to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics).
Engineering Inspiration Award - Celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community.
Entrepreneurship Award sponsored by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers - Celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit by recognizes a team that has developed a comprehensive business plan in order to define, manage, and achieve the team's ongoing objectives.
Excellence in Engineering Award sponsored by Delphi - Celebrates an elegant and advantageous machine feature.
FIRST Dean’s List Award - Celebrates outstanding student leaders whose passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals is exemplary.
Founder’s Award - Recognizes the organization or individual that has contributed significantly to the growth of FIRST.
Gracious Professionalism® Award Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson - Celebrates outstanding demonstration of FIRST Core Values such as continuous Gracious Professionalism® working together both on and off the playing field.
Highest Rookie Seed Award - Celebrates the highest-seeded rookie team at the conclusion of the qualifying rounds.
Imagery Award in honor of Jack Kamen - In honor of Jack Kamen, Dean’s father, for his dedication to art and illustration and his devotion to FIRST. This award celebrates attractiveness in engineering and outstanding visual aesthetic integration of machine and team appearance.
Industrial Design Award Sponsored by General Motors - Celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively addresses the game challenge.
Innovation in Control Award Sponsored by Rockwell Automation - Celebrates an innovative control system or application of control components – electrical, mechanical, or software – to provide unique machine functions.
Judges’ Award - During the course of the competition, the judging panel may decide a team’s unique efforts, performance, or dynamics merit recognition.
Quality Award Sponsored by Motorola Solutions Foundation - Celebrates machine robustness in concept and fabrication.
Rookie All-Star Award - Celebrates the rookie team exemplifying a young but strong partnership effort, as well as implementing the mission of FIRST to inspire students to learn more about science and technology.
Rookie Inspiration Award Sponsored by National Instruments - Celebrates a rookie team’s outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school, as well as in their community.
Safety Award Sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories - Celebrates the team that progresses beyond safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards.
Safety Animation Award Sponsored by UL - Recognizes the team that submits a short animated film that best promotes the current season’s team safety focus.
Team Spirit Award sponsored by FCA Foundation - Celebrates extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit through exceptional partnership and teamwork furthering the objectives of FIRST.
Volunteer of the Year Award - Presented to an individual, business, or organization that consistently excels in their efforts, with proven results in the areas of impact, leadership, personal commitment, community, and historical contributions.
Woodie Flowers Finalist Award - Presented to an outstanding Mentor in the robotics competition who best leads, inspires, teaches, and empowers their team using excellent communication skills.
For more information on FRC awards, see https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/awards.