Bell Vertical Robotics Competition FAQ

The following are frequently asked questions about the Bell Vertical Robotics Competition.

Q:
How many students per team?
8-12 students led by coaches, mentors, and teachers.
Q:
Is travel required before September?
No. The March 27 Teacher/Mentor Orientation and April 10 Kickoff are completely virtual. Kits are shipped directly to each school/district.
Q:
Are mentors invited to the Teacher/Mentor Orientation?
Yes, mentors are encouraged!
Q:
Are Teacher/Mentor Orientations recorded?
All coaches, mentors, and teachers are encouraged to attend the live/interactive event on Microsoft Teams. If somebody cannot attend, the plan is to record the Teacher/Mentor Orientation.
Q:
My mentor is not a drones expert, will anyone be available to help the students?
The first step is to attend the Teacher/Mentor Orientation! The goal of this training is to give every teacher and mentor a working knowledge of the design and build process. If the students encounter additional questions, Bell is hosting a weekly Microsoft Teams call for just that purpose.
Q:
I want to register before March 20, but a PO takes longer than that. What is the payment deadline?
Great! Go ahead and register but then contact BellVRC@roboticseducation.org to work out payment details.
Q:
Can I keep my current VEX number?
Ha! We love these questions because we know how much pride goes into Team Numbers. Yes, go ahead and register your team and receive a generic number but once your registration is final we can change it to the preferred number if it is available. This is the year to lock in that number!
Q:
Can all high school students (private school/ homeschool/community teams) participate?
Yes!
Q:
What kind of space would be required to design, test, and develop for Bell VRC?
The actual netted court size is 15 ft x 15 ft x30 ft long, but to perform basic flight testing and to practice for the autonomy challenge, it could be done in a 10 ft wide by 8 ft tall by 30 ft long netted area.
Q:
Is it $4000 per team every year?
New teams will pay the $4000, but returning teams will likely receive a discounted price if they can utilize their drone components from the previous year.
Q:
Are there any grants for teams?
There are no grants at this time. You are encouraged, though, to seek sponsorships and mentors from the surrounding community!
Q:
How much space does the Bell VRC equipment (controllers, quadcopters, batteries, parts, chargers) require for travel?
Probably 4x4x4 (64 cu-ft) would be the max with 3x3x3 (27 cu-ft) likely to be enough.
Q:
Would teams have to bring field & game elements to the qualifier?
No, other than some very small game elements that come in the kit.
Q:
What programming language is used with the competition drones?
Python.
Q:
What parts are included in the drone kit?
Everything that will be needed to assemble and fly the basic drone for Phase 1 will be included in the kit. The only exception is a few components (mounting brackets and rotor guards) which the team has to 3D print using the CAD models included in the kit (or teams can create their own designs for these few components).
Q:
What happens if the event this fall gets cancelled?
One of two things happens:

1. Event delayed into the Spring
2. $500 application to the next season
Q:
How does a team obtain replacement parts?
Contact the REC Foundation at BellVRC@roboticseducation.org to get replacement parts.
Q:
Can a team compete only in the fall 2021 semester?
Yes. This is not recommended as the season in the fall is shortened since the drone building phase is in the spring. Also, there are no guarantees spots are available.
Q:
Are we allowed to change team members from the spring to the fall.
Absolutely. We understand that Seniors will be leaving and many changes could occur over the summer.
Q:
I have a senior who is interested in being a team mentor, is that allowed?
Yes. The answer assumes the senior participated in Phase 1 but is wanting to come back as a Mentor for Phase 2. Regardless, school teams can use whoever they want for mentors.

March 27 Orientation Q&A

These questions were recorded during the Orientation held on March 27.
Q:
What if I don’t have any seniors on my team for the Senior Design Project?
Not a problem, the other students can take on the same project to design and 3D Print the Proprotor Guards and the LED Halo Mount, but they will not need to document it and create a presentation like the Senior Design Project will require.
Q:
Can the teachers have access to the GitBook manual ahead of the April 10 Kickoff event, so that they can review the content ahead of the students?
Yes, we will send out access to the GitBook Assembly & Flight Manual 1 on April 5 for teachers to review.
Q:
Is there any tutorials available for students to learn about Python coding ahead of the Phase 2 competition in the Fall?
Great question, and we are looking into providing a recommended site for teachers to pass on to the students if they want to study up over the summer months.
Q:
What if a teacher does not know anything about a lot of the drone technology and terminology that was talked about in the Orientation Session?
Don’t worry. There will be a much deeper explanation of the build process on April 10 where the students will hear it first hand, plus they will be able to look at the VRC Drone Kit while they are hearing the training. Additional help will be provided with the Training Videos that will be sent out throughout Phase 1 and Phase 2. Also, all schools are encouraged to recruit mentors from industry or STEM enthusiasts. Bell has many volunteers who have signed up to be mentors and we will be assigning them to the DFW schools before the April 10 Kickoff.
Q:
Can I have a different set of students on my team for Phase 2 from Phase 1?
Absolutely! We understand that the graduated senior will not be around for Phase 2 and also some students might move away over the summer. Just be sure to register the new students on RobotEvents.com before the Phase 2 Reveal on September 25.
Q:
What if we don’t have a 3D Printer, is that required for the competition?
Yes, there is 3D printing required for students to add some components to the basic VRC Drone. If a school does not have a 3D Printer, we will work with you to find another school to help your team or we will have Bell Engineers help to get the 3D printing done.
Q:
For the pre-designed CAD models that are included in the GitBook Assembly Manual, what format are they?
The CAD models provided are STL format.
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