5.3: Defining Objectives

Designing and building competition robots is a rewarding and fun task. However, the task becomes much more enjoyable when done successfully. This of course begs the question, “How do we define success?” In terms of competition robotics, a successful robot is defined as one that can regularly win matches based on its own merits and skills. Throughout the design process, this needs to be the overriding goal. When making any sort of decision or trade off, the team needs to ask themselves, “Will this choice help the team win matches?” If the answer is “no”, then the decision needs to be revisited. Of course, this is a very broad question. Later in the unit, this question will be broken down into more tangible and measurable items, many defined by the team itself. There are also other secondary objectives involved, which may not directly (or even indirectly) lead to the winning of matches. Considerations such as aesthetics, design elegance and even “shock value” are all potential aims. However, objectives must always remain secondary to prevent them from interfering with the goals of success. For example, a team should not sacrifice a tangible way for their robot to win matches in a pure effort to make the robot more aesthetically pleasing.