As a robotics team has many different needs, it is necessary for our team to have many different roles to fulfill said needs. That said, below is an overview of the primary “sub-teams” we divide our team into to achieve our goal of a successful robot.
Mechanical: The members of this team are responsible for prototyping, SolidWorks designing, and building the robot. The heaviest workload for this team occurs during build season, especially the last few weeks when we’re running out of time. This is also the biggest sub-team.
Lead Mentor: Aaron Johnson
Electrical: The members of this team are responsible for putting together the electrical system of the robot. This team usually begins planning out their electrical system about midway through build season, after some general robot design has emerged from all our prototyping. Their heaviest workload occurs during the last week of build season through early competition season— installing the electronics, testing and improving the system.
Lead Mentor: Bill Hermann
Programming: The members of this team are responsible for programming the robot in C++ to do what we want it to do. This team spends the build season constructing the basic framework. They tackle autonomous and tele-op robot programming. Their heaviest workload is during the end of build season through the competition season. This is when they input actual numbers for the assumptions they made during build season, troubleshoot errors, and frequently build entire new programs.
Lead Mentor: Erik Silk
Business: This team is responsible for the business plan, including budget, season goals, community service and outreach, fundraising, team branding and promotion, FIRST awards submission, and special events. Everyone is part of this team in some capacity, whether they be full time or not. This team is active all year.
Lead Mentor: Helena Johnson
When students do not have something to do in their own sub-team, they are strongly encouraged to go to other teams and see if they can help out. In addition to being very appreciated, this also allows students to get experience in separate fields, which will likely be advantageous later on.
These teams are exclusively related to the competition season, and for the most part are pretty loose definitions. Furthermore, mentors are not nearly as involved during this section of our season as during others, allowing great opportunities for students to take on leadership positions. Our drive team, for example, is entirely student based.
Drive Team: These are the 5 or so members of the team chosen to compete with the robot in matches. They are chosen primarily based on effort shown during the build season. Unlike other competition sub-teams, there is an official selection process to choose these members every year. There will be an in-depth informational meeting in November or December for interested students.
Pit-Crew: These students are responsible for helping repair the robot when something breaks and with resetting it. This team is comprised of students who know the most about the robot from all primary teams. They are chosen on an informal basis based on how much time a student has spent working on the robot and how well they know it. Additionally, when judges come to talk to our team about our program, these are the members who talk to them.
- Safety captain: a subset of the Pit-Crew. Typically an older team member. They are assigned the responsibility of taking care of safety related tasks and talking to judges in the pit about us, especially our safety program.
Scouting Team: This team is responsible for gathering data on other teams and trying to get other teams to pick us.
- Pit scouting: This team is composed of people who like to talk to others. Students gather information at competitions before the matches start by talking to other teams. The main point of this however, is not to gather information (most of which is biased in some way), but to interact with other teams so that when we need to choose or be chosen for an alliance, they will know and like us so we can have a good alliance.
- Match scouting: This is, unlike pit scouting, solely focused on getting us information on other teams to improve our strategy. Students sit in the bleachers, watch matches, and fill out scouting sheets on what other teams can do and how well they can do it. It can be intense, but it provides us with information which is critical for the success of our team. This team is always in need of manpower, and unless you have some other task you need to do you should really be working here.