FIRST® Robotics Competition Addendum

A-Z Guide

2018 FIRST® Championship Houston
For overall event-specific info in Houston, see Event A-Z Guide

Alliance Selections

Teams must be prepared for Alliance Selection. Immediately following the Awards Ceremony, Alliance Selection will take place on each Sub-Division Field. Alliances will compromise of 4 teams. More information can be found in Section 10.11 of the FIRST® POWER UPSM Game and Season Manual.

Awards Schedule

Friday, April 20, 12:00pm – Marriott Hotel: Houston Ballroom

  • Dean’s List Award

Saturday, April 21, 7:30am – George R Brown Convention Center Level 1

Division Awards (2 Team Representatives accept award)                              

  • Imagery Award, in honor of Jack Kamen
  • Team Spirit Award sponsored by FCA Foundation
  • Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox
  • Entrepreneurship Award sponsored by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
  • Rookie Inspiration Award sponsored by National Instruments
  • Quality Award sponsored by Motorola Solutions Foundation
  • Gracious Professionalism® Award sponsored by Johnson & Johnson
  • Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors
  • Autonomous Award sponsored by Ford
  • Judges Award
  • Safety Award sponsored by UL
  • Innovation in Control Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation
  • Excellence in Engineering Award sponsored by Delphi
  • Highest Rookie Seed Award
  • Rookie All Star Award
  • Engineering Inspiration Award (note: full team comes down to floor for award)
  • Chairman’s Award Finalists (note: full team comes down to floor for award)

Saturday, April 21, 1:00pm (or when Sub-Division Playoff Matches end) – George R Brown Convention Center Level 1

Sub-Division Playoff Awards

  • Finalist
  • Winner

Saturday, April 21, 2:30pm-4:30pm – George R Brown Convention Center Level 1

  • FIRST Robotics Competition Outstanding Volunteer Award
  • Woodie Flowers Award

Saturday, April 21, 6:30pm-8:30pm – Minute Maid Park

  • FIRST Robotics Competition Outstanding Volunteer Award Recognition
  • Chairman’s Award
  • Finalist
  • Winner


Drive Team Buttons:
Each team will receive five (5) Drive Team buttons in its registration packet. Replacements are not available. These buttons allow the wearers access to the playing field and designate:

  • One (1) Coach (this button has a blue banner on it.)
  • Three (3) Drive Team Members
  • One (1) Technician

Pit Crew Buttons for Playoff Rounds:
During the playoff rounds, extra team members are often needed to move the team robot from the pit station to the queuing area and playing field. Each Alliance Team can have three (3) additional Pit Crew members to help with necessary robot repairs and maintenance. These buttons provide access to the field. FIRST distributes the buttons to Alliance Captains during the pairing selection process on the sub-division fields. All teams should assume they could be chosen for an alliance. Each Alliance Captain must set a logistics plan for button distribution prior to the pairings to distribute the buttons to the Pit Crew members.

Safety Captain Button: Each team will receive one Safety Captain Button for this voluntary position. Listen carefully for announcements about Safety Captain Meetings.

Chairman’s Award Finalists Seating Area – Minute Maid Park

We have reserved 40 seats per team for each of the 3 Chairman’s Award Finalists teams at Minute Maid Park. The reserved seats are in Sections 114 and 116 lower level. Teams will need to obtain the wristbands from the field Volunteer Coordinator.

Chairman’s Award Interviews

Chairman’s Interviews will be from 9am – 4pm on the Friday, April 20. Chairman’s Award Interview sign-ups will be on Thursday, April 19 from 7am - 9am in the Hall of Fame booth. Interview times and locations are filled on a first come, first served basis. There will be three Chairman’s Award Interview rooms.

To avoid schedule conflicts, Chairman’s Award Interviewees are not recommended to be drive team members. Swapping interview times is not encouraged, but if you must change your time, switch with a team (once you have their consent) that is assigned to the same interview room as you and notify the Judges through the "Judge Assistant/Chairman's Room Runner", who will work with the teams and keep Judges apprised of changes.

Check-in at Pit Administration

In addition to registering teams at the Registration Booth, teams must check-in at Pit Administration. Team’s Lead Coach/Mentor 1 or 2 must check-in to receive the Team Registration packet. This packet includes important documents and buttons. Check-in times are:

  • Wednesday, April 18, 12:00 pm - 8:30 pm
  • Thursday, April 19, 7:00 am - 8:30 am

Crate Weight Complaint Resolution Times

After your crate has been emptied, notify Shepard Exposition Services (SES) that your crate is ready for storage.

Any weight above 400 lbs. will be assessed at a specific price per 100 lbs. by SES. Before opening your crate, check the weight on the Bill of Lading on the side of your crate. If you feel that the weight is incorrect, please go to the SES desk as they will weigh the crate in front of you for clarity.

Division Awards and Alliance Selection

Saturday, April 21, 7:30am, George R Brown Convention Center Level 1, FIRST Robotics Competition Playing Fields

Each team will need to send two (2) representatives to the floor in front of their assigned field by 7:15am. One (1) of these two representatives will be responsible for Alliance Selection.

Division Breaks

Each division has been assigned a 2-hour break on Thursday and Friday. Please use this time for lunch. Also take time to visit the Innovation Faire, Scholarship Row, Sponsors, and other FIRST Programs.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

11am – 1pm Carver-Newton Break
11:30am – 1:30pm   Galileo-Roebling Break
12pm – 2pm   Hopper-Turing Break

Friday, April 20, 2018

11am – 1pm Galileo-Roebling Break
11:30am – 1pm Hopper-Turing Break
12pm – 2pm Carver-Newton Break

Saturday, April 21, 2018

1pm – 2:30pm All Fields Break
4:30pm – 6:30pm Break to move to Minute Maid Park

Driver’s Meeting

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. - Galileo Field – drivers report to stands

Einstein Field Access – Saturday, April 21

Beginning at 2pm on Saturday, April 21, additional security measures will be in place for the Einstein fields.

Immediately following Sub-Division Playoff Matches, Division Champion drive teams and robots need to report to the Einstein Energy and Mass fields. A special access badge will be issued.

Einstein Round Robin Tournament and Fields

The six (6) sub-division alliance winners are known as Division Champions. These teams will compete in the Einstein Round Robin Tournament to determine the winning alliance for Energy and Mass. The Galileo field becomes the Einstein Energy Field and the Roebling field becomes the Einstein Mass Field for the Round Robin Tournament.

The conclusion of the Einstein Championship Final Matches will take place on the competition field at Minute Maid Park on Saturday evening. The Energy and Mass winning alliances will compete in the Championship Final Matches to determine the Alliance Championship Winner and Alliance Championship Finalist.

Einstein Round Robin Tournament Competing Teams Seating Area

When the sub-division alliance winners are announced, each team will receive 40 wristbands to designate special seating for the Einstein Round Robin Tournament. Division Champion alliance teams will be seated in the bleachers (loading dock side) for the Energy (Galileo) and Mass (Roebling) fields. Teams will need to obtain the wristbands from the field Volunteer Coordinator.

We will be clearing the bleachers (loading dock side) for the Energy (Galileo) and Mass (Roebling) fields starting at 12:30 pm on Saturday (or at the conclusion of the Sub-Division Playoffs Matches). Anyone sitting in these sections will be asked to move. These sections are reserved for the Division Champion alliance teams competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition Einstein Round Robin Tournament.

Einstein Championship Final Matches Competing Teams Seating Area

We have reserved 40 seats per team for each of the Energy and Mass winning alliance teams at Minute Maid Park. The reserved seats are in Sections 114 and 116 lower level. Teams will need to obtain the wristbands from the field Volunteer Coordinator.

Field Measurement

Wednesday, April 18 - 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Competition Fields Open to Teams for Measurement


Qualification matches begin at 8:30am on Thursday, April 19. Teams should start the inspection process as soon as possible on Wednesday, April 18. Weigh and measure your robot early to help the inspection process move faster. The Inspectors often spot problems and provide suggestions for correction. Robots must pass inspection prior to competing in Qualification Matches.

Load In

Teams cannot unload on Chartres Street. Teams cannot leave vehicles unattended at any time. For detailed information, please see this document.

Load Out

Please be respectful of other teams and the public in your departure, leave your area clean, and be safe. Please see this document for Load Out information.

Machine Shop

Once again, NASA is graciously sponsoring and managing the FIRST Robotics Competition Machine Shop Trailers. The machine shop is located in Hall E of the George R. Brown Convention Center near the spare parts area. The machine shop is open Wednesday, April 18 from 12pm-8:30pm, Thursday, April 19 from 7am-5:30pm, Friday, April 20 from 7am-6pm and Saturday, April 21 from 6:45am-3pm. There is no grinding, braising or welding in team pits; those requests must be completed by the machine shop.


Wednesday, April 18
6:00pm – 8:00pm             Practice Matches

Thursday, April 19
8:30am – 5:00pm             Qualification Matches

Friday, April 20
8:00am – 5:30pm             Qualification Matches

Saturday, April 21
9:30am – 1:00pm             Sub-Division Playoff Matches
2:30pm – 4:30pm             Einstein Round Robin Tournament
6:30pm – 8:30pm             Einstein Final Matches – Minute Maid Park

Media Passes

Each team will receive one (1) non-transferable Team Media Pass and related instructions/caveats in its registration packet. Media representatives are permitted in designated media access areas around the playing field only during their team’s Qualification and Sub-Division Playoff Matches. The directions of Playing Field Supervisors must be followed at all times. Team Media are not permitted on: the actual playing field surface; in areas marked off for human players; in any private venues or VIP, Volunteer, or Judges’ areas, or the FIRST Media Center for professional, bona fide media. Mascots will not be recognized as an official team media person. Due to space constraints and limitations, Team Media will not be allowed on the field or pit area before or during Einstein Championship Matches.

Minute Maid Park Access

All officially badged participants will enter Minute Maid Park without going through metal detectors. All participants should limit the bags that are brought to Minute Maid Park as bags slow the entry process.

Pit Administration

Pit Announcements
Parts requests will be grouped together and announced every 15 minutes. To submit a request, write your division, team number, and needed part on a piece of paper and give it to the Pit Administration staff. Additional announcements will be made at half hour intervals. Personal and irrelevant announcements will not be made.

All parts requests will also scroll across the bottom of all Field Channels available in the pits. Please see Pit Cable Specifications below for more information.

Pit Closing
For safety purposes, be respectful of the pit closing time each day. On Saturday, April 21, only essential team members are allowed to disassemble and pack items in pits. Aisles must be kept clear for freight movement and team load out.

Pit Hours
Wednesday, April 18
12:00pm – 4:00pm          Team Load In – 5 Team Reps Only
4:00pm – 8:30pm             Pits Open

Thursday, April 19
7:00am – 5:30pm             Pits Open

Friday, April 20
7:00am – 6:00pm             Pits Open

Saturday, April 21
6:45am – 3:00pm             Pits Open

Remember that teams are required follow all rules in the Rules & Expectations for FIRST Robotics Competition Events found here.

Pit Cable Specifications

Each pit will be provided with an RF Cable Drop. 12 channels will be available to watch in each pit: 6 Sub-Division Field Channels, with parts requests scrolling across the bottom, and 6 Sub-Division Rankings Channels. More information can be found here.

PODS Pilot

PODS® has partnered with FIRST to provide a solution that will take the leg work out of logistics and allow you to focus on the excitement in store for you and your team. Allow all of your team members to share the experience of traveling to the FIRST Championship without the worry of driving your team support equipment across the country. More details here.

Practice Fields

There will be two (2) complete Competition Fields, as well as several carpeted areas of Practice Fields available to teams. Safety glasses are required at all times on all Practice Field spaces.

Please note the complete Competition Fields will be modified slightly:

Modified lighting will be used on the practice field. Switch lighting will only be visible from the near Alliance station. Scale lighting will have substantially reduced node count. A small screen in each Alliance station will display the status to supplement to reduced lighting.

Teams may only practice with their robots in their pits or in designated practice areas. Teams may not set up their own practice elements outside their pits.

Remember that teams are required follow all rules in the Rules & Expectations for FIRST Robotics Competition Events found here.


Teams are responsible for knowing their match times and will have to queue 30 minutes prior to their matches without the help of an announcer. Teams need a minimum of 15 minutes to travel from their pit space to the playing fields. Please leave extra time to get back and forth between the pits and playing fields.

For qualification matches, FIRST will make every effort to keep close to the published schedules. Keep close watch of the pit display for any moment-to-moment changes. There will be no audio queuing.

Robot Carry-Out Request Process

Teams may request to carry out their robot and robot crate from the FIRST Championship venue, rather than have their robot and crate shipped home. To obtain a Robot Removal Request, email

Approved teams must send an adult mentor to the FIRST Shipping Desk Friday of Championship to collect their Carry-Out Ticket. An attending volunteer at the Venue doors will recollect the Carry-Out Ticket to confirm the team is approved.

Teams that Carry-Out their robot must also carry out their crate or request their crate destroyed by Shepard Expo Services for a fee. Crates will not be shipped without the team’s competition robot inside.

Robot removal requests are due by Friday, April 13, 2018.

Robot Sensor Calibration

Thursday, April 19 - 7:30am – 8:30am
Competition Fields Open to Teams for Robot Sensor Calibration

Robot Service Center

This Robot Service Center is an opportunity for you to seek and get support from Suppliers during the competition (e.g. technical help, spare parts, or assistance with repairs). It is located in the FIRST Robotics Competition Pit area and details are below.







Analog Devices

Support for ADI supplied donations (gyro and IMU) as well as taking suggestions for material which would make these devices easier for teams to use.



2pm - 5pm









AndyMark will have several staff members available to answer questions about our products and services. We will also have some fun social media activities throughout the Championship event, as well as offer a variety of prizes for those who stop by the AndyMark Service Center.









Functional demonstrations and displays of products. Explanations of how to install, plumb, wire and use products. FIRST specific wiring demonstrations. Hands-on ferrule crimping demonstrations.










We will have items like fittings and air tanks and some fun giveaways for the teams. We also have lots of knowledge in pneumatics to help the teams if needed.

12-5 or later

8-5 or later

8-5 or later


Cooler Master





Cooler Master will be offering a video editing kiosk for teams to upload content to their social media channels as well as providing teams with equipment. Examples include Laptop Coolers, Laptop Chargers and Keyboard/Mouse combo sets.

Same as Pit hours

Same as Pit hours

Same as Pit hours

Same as Pit hours

Control System Advisors (CSAs)





Control System Advisors will help teams with software/electrical issues

Same as Pit hours

Same as Pit hours

Same as Pit hours

Same as Pit hours

CTR Electronics





CTR Electronics will be providing technical support and will answer any questions concerning our products.










Limited supply of spare parts related to the valve kit we supply:

- 25 pcs: 8042548 VUVG valve from valve kit
- 120 pc: 183740  M7-1/4“ tube hybrid fitting from valve kit
- 25 pcs: 566654 Solenoid cable from valve kit
- 50 pc:  566714 eBox for valve
- 2 rolls of 567948 PUN-H tubing ¼“ OD

Support with pneumatic troubleshooting on robots





Kauai Labs





Kauai Labs will be providing technical software support for navX-MXP, navX-Micro, SF2 and VMX-pi, as well as hardware support for navX-MXP, navX-Micro and VMX-pi.





National Instruments





The NI booth will serve as a tech support center for FRC teams needing assistance and support. Request assistance from your phone via or visit the NI booth during open hours. The booth will be staffed by NI CSAs and representatives from the NI R&D group.










We will be have our entire lineup of products available as replacement parts and additional parts to giveaway to teams who need them. We will be available to provide technical assistance for teams to help fix their robots. We also have some stickers and other fun giveaways at our booth.


All Day

All Day

Open until 5pm

Ruland Manufacturing





We will provide spare parts and technical assistance on-site.










VEXpro will provide spare parts, robot repair advice, and general information about our suite of VEXpro products that are tailored to FRC teams.  Come check out our booth for examples of our gearboxes and new/upcoming products!


7am 5:30pm








Software and control system help





Schedule and Team Lists

Team Lists and Schedules will be available on the Championship website and in the Championship App. Teams are required to provide their own materials.

Shipping Your Robot Home

Step 1: An adult mentor from each FIRST Robotics Competition team must visit the FIRST Shipping Desk located in the FIRST Robotics Competition Pits during their designated time frames below.

International Teams have additional access time on Thursday afternoon on a first-come, first-served basis. Teams unable to make it Thursday may visit the FIRST Shipping Desk during their Subdivision’s standard time Friday. All US-based teams should arrive to the FIRST Shipping Desk on Friday during their listed Subdivision time below.

Sub-Division Thursday Friday
International Teams 1pm – 5pm (During Subdivision times below)
Carver   10am – 11am
Galileo   11am – 12pm
Hopper   1pm – 2pm
Newton   2pm – 3pm
Roebling   3pm – 4pm
Turing   4pm – 5pm

The mentor will sign the relevant FedEx shipping documentation and collect a copy of the document for the team’s records and tracking information once the robot crate has shipped. Additionally, a 4-inch color Zone Sticker will be given to the team mentor.

Step 2: After picking up shipping documentation, the team mentor will then need to visit the Shepard Exposition Services Desk (SES Desk) to pick up a Shepard Payment Authorization form and a Shepard Bill of Lading. Both of these forms are required by Shepard Exposition Services.

Step 3: Notify the SES Desk that your team is ready to accept your Robot Crate in the pits. Once it arrives, remove all old shipping documents from your robot crate and pack the crate securely. Only your Robot should be packed in the crate.

Step 4: Once the crate is packed and sealed, return to the SES Desk and turn in the completed Shepard Payment Authorization form and all copies of the Shepard Bill of Lading.

Step 5: Attach the 4-inch color Zone Sticker to the robot crate facing the pit walkway. This signals to FIRST and Shepard that your crate is done.

The Pits close at 3:00 pm on Saturday. All teams must have shipping preparations complete before that time.

Teams in the United States can expect to receive their robot crate within 2-4 weeks after shipping from the FIRST Championship. International teams should expect transit of 4-8 weeks due to customs and export delays. Teams may track their crate on using the tracking number provided to them at the FIRST Shipping Desk. Please note that tracking numbers do not automatically become active after Championship. It may take a week before your crate’s tracking number is activated when FedEx collects the crate from Shepard Exposition Services.

Spare Parts

The Pit Map shows the Spare Parts location. Parts are available on a limited basis. The attendant will be able to contact a FIRST Technical Advisor or Lead Robot Inspector if you need approval for any of the applicable components.

Sub-Division Playoff Pit Spaces

There will be assigned pit spaces for FIRST Robotics Competition sub-division playoff matches to be shared by 4 team alliances. Alliances must work together to share the space accordingly including tools and equipment. Any pit structures cannot exceed 6 feet in height.

Sub-Divisional Team Viewing

In an attempt to improve match viewing for teams during matches, a designated viewing area in the bleachers (loading dock side) will be available for the six (6) teams in the current match. We ask that teams leave the viewing area promptly following their matches in a gracious manner, to allow the next set of teams to view. The viewing area will be monitored by event staff and volunteers to help ensure fair access to all.