Aerial Assist

2014 AerialAssist

Object of the Game

Robots must work together to carry, pass, or even throw large inflated balls across the field into goals.


Aerial Assist is played with two alliances; red vs blue, with three teams making up each alliance. The playing area is on a flat 25ft x 54ft field with matches lasting two minutes and thirty seconds. The field consists of three zones: red, white, and blue. A 5ft high truss is located in the center of the field. There are four goals in total; two high goals on the opposing alliances wall, and two low goals also on the opposite wall. Robots can rack up many additional points by passing the inflated balls through the different zones and up and over the truss.

The matches begin with an autonomous period of 10 seconds which is followed by a teleoperated period, meaning that teams are allowed to take control of their robots. Aerial Assist is a great challenge that requires strategy, skill, and teamwork in order to accomplish. May the best robots win! 

Game Animation


2014 robot

Strategy & Robot Design

Our robot was designed with the following priorities in mind:

  • Drive - We decided this was the most important thing we could do in the game, which consisted of quick and stable movement
  • Score Balls - The ability to score balls accurately in the top zone is advantageous in both autonomous and teleoperation periods of the game
  • Pick Up Balls - Picking up balls from the ground is important to gain more points in autonomous if team members are not able to shoot themselves, as well as speed up scoring in teleoperated period because if the ball falls on the ground the only way to get it into the 10 pt goal is by picking it up
  • Catching the ball - is important because it allows means you get 10 pts instantly and it allows for quicker scoring because we won’t need to chase the ball around wasting time.


• Long orientation chassis, welded from 2”x1” and 1”x1” extruded aluminum tubing (Dimensions: 26” x 30”)
• 6-wheel west coast style tank drive
• 6 -8” AndyMark pneumatic wheels
• Driven with #25 roller chain by 2 CIM motors per 2-speed AndyMark SuperShifter Gearboxes for a total of four CIMs
• The chain is inside our side rail to minimize the room that the chain takes up

Game Piece Manipulation

The robot has 2 systems that work together to throw the ball: a pickup system and a catapult. The balls are picked up using rollers that contact the ball on either side of the ball. When it has the ball inside the frame, it sits on two cut hockey sticks as part of our catapult which is powered by a MiniCIM with a planetary gearbox that has a 46:1 reduction and is outputted to a 20-tooth gear which turns a 100-tooth gear and is also a cam that releases the catapult. The final reduction of the mechanism is 233:1, which is powered by two torsion springs from a snowmobile.

Electrical & Pneumatics

All of the components of the control system are located on a single board mounted under our chassis. The motor controllers are on the drive gear boxes so that we can have minimum amount of wire running from them to the motor and to the power distribution board. The panel also has two channels that allows for neat wiring. The air compressor and battery are placed at the back of the robot to counterbalance the catapult’s weight. Having the electrical board as one panel allows for faster installation and its location allows us to see our control components for easier diagnostics and quicker repair.

Programming & Sensors

Overall, the robot uses sensory input to ensure safety and to perform tasks autonomously. Programming is done to use the robot’s various functions using logic and automatic input from the robot’s driver(s), including but not limited to:

• Encoders on drive for the ability to sense drive rotations and perform autonomous commands with said values
• Potentiometer on rollers to find location of said rollers (for use in PID loops)
• Axis Camera used to detect saturation value of the image and for general driver use (saturation and size used for autonomous hot detection)--used to discover where the “hot” targets are at the beginning of a match
• Proximity Sensor below the catapult arm to detect when it is fully retracted and to prevent it from shooting when retracting
• 2 PID loops for autonomous--one to move a set distance in autonomous, one to set rollers to a specific location using the potentiometer

The robot’s code is written entirely in Java and RoboRealm accompanies the Axis Camera for vision processing and recognition.

Performance Capabilities

Our robot has been designed to score in the 10 point from almost anywhere in our third of the field. It can shoot over the truss, and it can catch from over it. We can pick up and pass the ball as fast as possible.


The design of our robot begins with the viewing of the game animation, when we learn what the game objectives are. We then evaluate the value of the points in relation to the speed, simplicity and repeatability of the actions needed to complete certain objectives. We then lay out criteria that we demand from the robot, both those outlined in the rules and demands we have created to keep our designs reliable, accurate and fast, with a focus on our priorities in that order.

Once we have defined what actions the robot will take, we begin to work on how the robot will achieve these goals, in the most reliable, accurate and fast way. This involves brainstorming sessions where we come up with a variety of ideas on how to achieve goals, and narrow down to a few general ideas to test by quantifying the values that each system will have and how it will benefit us. Testing is done by breaking into groups and finding the problems in each system and refining them. We then revisit our quantified objective table with more comparative numbers, and the design with the highest score will be pursued.

We then lay out a collective system of all attachments as one robot using computer-aided design and begin the construction of the practice robot where more problems are found and refined, creating a robot that is continually improving. When we are content with the overall design we move on to the manufacturing of the final robot, which through the course of competition season will also see many improvements to increase efficiency.

Our Team

2014 full team

Build Captain: Luke
Admin Captain: Kush
Robot Driver: Greg D
Robot Attachment Controller: Aaron
Coach: Luke
Human Player: Nikhil
Chairman's Presenters: Kush, Darby and Sarah
Overall Record: 26-25-0

Major Accomplishments

  • Our team's second Regional Chairman's Award at GTR East
  • Darby Watterworth was a Dean's List Finalist at GTR East
  • Entrepreneurship Award was won at Waterloo


Greater Toronto East Regional
  • Ranked 10th out of 48 Teams
  • Record of 6-6-0
  • 2nd pick by 7th Alliance
  • Alliance Partners: Teams 3988 and 3386
  • Quarter-Finalists
Waterloo Regional
  • Ranked 7th out of 32 Teams
  • Record of 8-7-0
  • 5th Alliance Captain
  • Alliance Partners: Teams 4678 and 5033
  • Quarter-Finalists
Windsor Regional
  • Ranked 22nd out of 40 Teams
  • Record of 6-8-0
  • 1st pick by 4th Alliance
  • Alliance Partners: Teams 2252 and 1305
  • Quarter-Finalists

World Championship

Archimedes Division
  • Ranked 43rd out of 100 Teams
  • Record of 6-4-0
  • 3rd pick by 8th Alliance (Backup Robot)
  • Alliance Partners: Teams 51, 2485 and 1918
  • Semi-Finalist Alliance; We Were not on-the-Field
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