in the last years we noticed an increasing amount of schools in Germany that develop their own internal robotics hardware/software platform for the use of their students. I think this is generally a great thing. These platforms do no more than i.e. the LEGO or Fischertechnik systems (make the hardware more accessible to the students). So basically the hardware drivers and parts of the hardware are made by the mentors (or possibly even other students in the school) and the core RoboCup software is made by students. This should be in compliance to line rule 2.2.1/maze rule 2.2.3:
Any robot kit or building blocks, either available on the market or built from raw hardware, may be used as long as the design and construction of the robot are primarily and substantially the original work of the students
I am not sure about Soccer and OnStage, but I think this is an issue that might be relevant to all leagues, why I am publishing this under General. There is a rule quiet similar in soccer (refer 8.2.2).
In our opinion this is an unfair advantage over schools that don’t have partnerships with companies or teachers with the expertise to develop such a kit or software.
In my opinion, it should be mandatory for the schools to publish their development to make it accessible to other schools. Otherwise at some point it will be very hard for new schools to participate in the competition.
Alternatively the rule I quoted could be enforced by completely prohibiting 3rd parties involvement. But I don’t think that is feasible, because the border between self made and made by 3rd party is not clear at all (technically all students would have to built their robot from scratch and kits would have to be completely forbidden).
What is all TCs opinion on this? I am looking forward to your responses!