2015 Control System Alpha Testing

Blog Date: 
Friday, September 13, 2013 - 12:56

Kate Pilotte, the FRC Kit of Parts Manager, is leading the development of the 2015 Control System.  She has this update on Alpha Testing:

Hopefully by now you’re aware of the transition to a new control system for the 2015 season. There’s much preparation that goes in to releasing a new system, and we want to make it as safe, robust, simple, cost effective, and powerful as possible. One of the ways we’ll do this is through early “Alpha Testing,” and I’d like to use this post to help you understand more about what that means…

The goals of the Alpha Test phase are as follows:

-          Give a select group of diverse teams early hands-on exposure to the 2015 control system;

-          Use Alpha Team feedback to refine/develop supporting documentation and training materials;

-          Test the features and functions of the new control system to uncover problems and provide solution suggestions;

-          Develop a supporting network/knowledge database to ease the transition to the new system;

-          Allow teams to become “Control System Experts” and serve as area leaders to mentor other teams;

-          Share information to minimize strategic advantages; and

-          Understand the difficulties and issues that Teams may encounter with the new control system.

The general Alpha Test timeline is below.

-          September, 2013

o   Hardware & software distribution to Alpha Teams

o   Posting of detailed test plan documents/instructions

-          October, 2013

o   Alpha teams test hardware/software locally

o   Test plan documents updated/revised as needed

o   Feedback to FIRST per more detailed schedule to be determined

o   Alpha team community outreach activities re: features/use of the 2015 control system (online, at events, etc).

-          November , 2013

o   Test plan documents updated/revised as needed

o   Feedback to FIRST per more detailed schedule to be determined

o   Event-like testing in NH

o   Alpha team community outreach activities re: features/use of the 2015 control system (online, at events, etc).

-          December , 2013

o   All feedback from Alpha Testing due to FIRST

-          January – April, 2014

o   Alpha team community outreach activities re: features/use of the 2015 control system (online, at events, etc).

 

We’d like to publically acknowledge and thank the nine teams that will be helping us run the system through its paces this fall…

Language

Team #

Team Name

City

State

Country

C++

16

Bomb Squad

Mountain Home

AR

USA

C++

294

Beach Cities Robotics

Redondo Beach

CA

USA

C++

987

HIGHROLLERS

Las Vegas

NV

USA

Java

610

The Coyotes

Toronto

ON

Canada

Java

2168

Aluminum Falcons

Groton

CT

USA

Java

2177

The Robettes

Mendota Heights

MN

USA

LabVIEW

836

RoboBees

Leonardtown

MD

USA

LabVIEW

1208

Metool Brigade

O’Fallon

IL

USA

LabVIEW

1718

The Fighting Pi

Armada

MI

USA

 

These teams will be crucial in helping us make the system ready for the 2015 season, and we’re so grateful for their help.

 

Here’s what we told the Alpha Teams we expect of them…

A)     Act as ambassadors for FIRST and the 2015 Control System

B)      Direct all concerns and issues regarding the new control system to FIRST first. (communication to/with the public should be constructive).

C)      Transplant the 2015 Control System hardware into an existing Ultimate Ascent FRC competition robot to perform basic functionality testing in two venues: at home and in an event-like atmosphere (assume Ultimate Ascent);

D)     Designate one lead student and one technical Mentor to serve as the communicators of test results;

E)      Post findings on a bi-weekly basis (including but not limited to bugs, incompatibilities, documentation edits, best-practices, etc.);

F)      Agree to serve as “Control Systems Experts” and provide support to teams in their surrounding areas for the 2015 season;

a.      Be available to answer questions from local Teams and from the broader FRC community;

b.      Release every piece of Team-developed code;

c.       Open facility to local teams to observe or assist in the test program;

d.      Retain the test hardware through the 2014 FRC season to show/demo at competitions and workshops.

e.      Hold at least one Saturday controls training seminar open to all neighboring teams prior to the 2015 Kickoff (this schedule is to be posted publically);

G)     Commit to sending 1-2 technical designees (preferably the same people from part D) and their robot to NH for event-like testing in November

H)     Agree to return 2015 Control System components to FIRST within 14 days upon request;

I)       Sign and adhere to the requirements defined in the Alpha Team Disclosure Agreement;

J)       Not to sign up for 2014 Beta Testing;

K)      Exhibit the highest degree of Gracious Professionalism in their communications both public and private; and

L)       Flexibility

It goes two ways – here’s what we told them they can expect from FIRST:

A)     The hardware and software suite shipped in September;

B)      Disclosure about the system and the evolution of the system;

C)      Timely responses in forums and email (w/in 24 hours);

D)     Preliminary, but clear, concise documentation;

E)      Coverage of travel and shipping expenses for the November event-like testing in NH;

F)      Exhibition of the highest degree of Gracious Professionalism in communications, both public and private; and

G)     Flexibility.

 

This means that you can expect them to be open, honest, and constructive about their experiences with the new system and also that they’re resources to the community for more information.

 

They’re up for a very busy fall!

Comments

team 1208 rocks

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