Yes, this point has been raised within the discussion of the TC members, and was a tough one to decide upon.
So, in the case that a robot rescues all the victims at once, and if there are both dead and alive victims being rescued, it will be treated as the dead victims being dropped before the live ones. To define what classifies as evacuating the victims all at once is tricky (as in reality, there will never be a case when all the victims are evacuated all at once).
While the very details of this may be a case to case scenario, as a rule of thumb, if the robot is carrying (or pushing) a collection of victims, and the method of evacuation is to "dump" the victims into the evacuation zone or "push" it all at once (opposed to dropping them one by one, or pushing them one by one), it will be regarded as rescuing the victims all at once.
The point of this rule is for two reasons.
- Making it easier for referees to check which victim has been rescued before.
- Preventing any dispute between teams and referees on which victim has been rescued first.
You have mentioned that this interpretation would make the rule meaningless. As you mentioned, teams that do decide to go with a method to try to deploy all the victims at the same time, in some cases this will yield higher points. However, it does also mean such a team will be trusting on luck in terms of
- Collecting all the victims on to the robot before the first deployment (which from observation usually doesn't happen)
- At least collect all the live victim within the robot.
It may be a strategy (in the same way that some teams have a robot that is not designed to be able to overcome a specific obstacle like a speed bump on a ramp), for some teams, but it definitely is not what the best teams will go for, as the accuracy of the robot is too reliant on luck, which is of course not what a rescue robot should rely on; i.e.: this is why it is in the rules that teams are encouraged to develop a system in which the robot can identify the difference between a live and a dead victim.
Does this make sense? It may be that the way I have defined "dropping at once" is not so accurate. Please follow up if it isn't.
Kai Junge - 2018 Rescue TC