I have a question regarding tactical lack of progresses. Depending on where the checkpoints are placed, it might be possible for teams to
- get to a victim on a floating wall if the checkpoint aligns to a floating wall
- get the exit bonus
even though the robot is actually not capable of getting this scoring (that means if the checkpoint were somewhere else, they would only be able to get the score randomly, by luck).
Of course, one could argue that the first point can be resolved by proper arena design by simply not aligning checkpoints to floating walls. Maybe it can be considered to mention this in the rules. But how about the second point? Let's say the starting tile has three walls and one opening in one direction and a team has a simple mapping algorithm, but during the run the map is resetted (after a LOP) and the robot loses the starting position. Now the robot reaches the starting tile at the end of the run. Normally, the robot would just continue with the maze, but if the team does a LOP at this point, the robot will be resetted to the starting tile and think it already has visited the only neighboring tile it can visit and will therefore stop at the checkpoint, scoring the exit bonus.
I am wondering if something like this is considered giving the robot information about the maze? The rules don't say anything regarding tactical LOP and the team does not give this kind of information explicitly to the robot (just implicitly by doing one/multiple LOP at the right time). Furthermore this problem can't be resolved with a proper design of the arena because if the starting tile has only one wall, the team could just do three lack of progresses (visit a different tile after every LOP) and after the third LOP, after all the neighboring tiles were visited, stop again at the checkpoint and get the exit bonus.
Of course one could argue that the team knows their robot very well, but it's not the point of the rules to get the scoring for cases like that.
Also basically all LOPs are tactical, but the difference is that the team kind of gives information to the maze with these two mentioned kind of LOPs.
So the question is how to handle the first and especially the second case? I'd say avoiding 1. is task of the designer of the arena, but 2. can only be avoided partly (having less than three walls next to the starting tile), so teams should not get the scoring if they obviously do multiple LOPs to get the exit bonus as this should be considered giving information of the maze to the robot. Of course this might be difficult to recognize for inexperienced referees again.
What is the opinion of teams and the TC on this?
EDIT: I made a drawing to visualize what I mean. I assume that the robot the team uses is capable of creating a map and always visits the neighboring unvisited tiles. If all neighboring unvisited times are visited, it will stop because it thinks it is done and because no route planning was implemented. This way it will get the exit bonus without having anything illegal in the software, just by doing two LOPs at the right time. I think this should not be allowed.