The 2023 theme for all the FIRST programs is Energize, and the FIRST Robotics Competition game is Charged Up. In this game, robots need to place yellow cones and purple cubes onto a three-level grid, earning more points on the higher levels. Robots can also balance on a charging station for additional points, both in autonomous mode and human-controlled teleoperated mode.

Game Reveal

Meet our 2023 robot, Sidewinder

Sidewinder was designed from the start to be small and fast, and was our first competition season robot to utilize swerve drive (to see the difference between swerve and the “tank drive” we used in the past, watch our video on drivetrains!) Its small size helped ensure that all three alliance robots could balance together on the charging station, and allowed Sidewinder to be very fast on the field when collecting cones and cubes from the feeding stations on the opposite side of the field. With the exception of our swerve pods, Sidewinder was also our first robot that was 100% machined in-house by our students, including the innovative capstan design for our elevator which earned us the Excellence in Engineering Award at World Championships!

This year’s field was also unique in that it was a mirror image down the center, which meant that teams needed several autonomous routines depending on which alliance they were on. By the end of the season, Sidewinder could reliably score two pieces in autonomous, and balance on the charging station if another alliance partner couldn’t balance in autonomous.

We were even interviewed by Maia with FIRST Updates Now!

Season Stats

Waco District Event (Week 1)

  • W/L Record: 13-3-0
  • Seed: 1st
  • Alliance: Alliance 1 Captain, with 6800 and 9054; Semi-Finalists
  • OPR: 43.16 (4th)

San Antonio District Event (Week 3)

  • W/L Record: 12-4-0
  • Seed: 3rd
  • Alliance: Alliance 3 Captain, with 2881 and 9054; Semi-Finalists
  • OPR: 48.85 (4th)
  • Awards: Creativity Award

FIRST in Texas District Championships – Apollo Division

  • W/L Record: 6-7-1
  • Seed: 14th
  • Alliance: First pick of Alliance 2, with 1296 and 5892
  • OPR: 59.90 (3rd)

FIRST World Championships – Johnson Division

  • W/L Record: 11-7-0
  • Seed: 10th
  • Alliance: First pick of Alliance 6, with 1718, 422, and 1676; Finalists
  • OPR: 55.58 (20th)
  • Awards: Excellence in Engineering Award

Texas Robot Invitational

  • W/L Record: 9-6-0
  • Seed: 8th
  • Alliance: First pick of Alliance 2, with 2881, 5892, and 8576; Finalists
  • OPR: 53.09 (6th)