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FIRST® Tech Challenge

Qualifier Resources

It's More than Just Robots
FIRST® Tech Challenge teams (up to 15 team members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format.
Powered by Mentors
Guided by adult coaches and mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and working as a team.
Sustainable Kit
The robot kit is reusable from year to year and can be coded using a variety of levels of Java-based programming.
A Place for Everyone
Teams also must raise funds, design and market their team brand, and do community outreach for which they can win awards. Participants have access to tens of millions of dollars in college scholarships.
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FIRST Tech Challenge is an exciting and fun global robotics program that ignites an enthusiasm for science, technology and discovery in young people and teaches them STEM skills and concepts, principles of leadership, and how to work as a team.

The competitions are the result of focused brainstorming, dedicated mentoring, project timelines and teamwork. Paired with technical mentors, teams learn from and play with the “pros” to experience engineering problem solving first-hand.

  • Challenges students to think like scientists and engineers
  • Provides a fun, creative, hands-on learning experience
  • Teaches students to experiment and overcome obstacles
  • The learned-skills make math and science applicable, accessible and real
  • Endorsed by the National Association of Secondary School Principals
  • Teams learn to document their design ideas and discoveries 
  • Enhances self-esteem and cultivates confidence
  • 90% of participating students report learning how STEM can solve real-world problems

“…to create a world where science and technology are celebrated… where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.” -
FIRST Founder, Dean Kamen

Match Play

The 2022-2023 Season Game

The Game

In the POWERPLAY℠ presented by Raytheon Technologies challenge, FIRST Tech Challenge teams will compete in an energy-driven game and test the limits of performance, efficiency, and endurance as they power their innovations forward.

The Field

The game is played on a 12-foot square playing field with a foam tile floor and one foot high walls of various sizes. Junctions are placed across the field including nine ground junctions. In addition, there are eight low four medium and four high junctions. These junctions are mounted on flexible springs and might not be perfectly vertical. taped off substations are centered on both sides. In each corner are taped off terminals. In the front and back of the field are taped stripes to help robots find cone stacks. There are four signals placed on the field. Four unique navigation images are positioned on the field wall. Outside of the field are the red and blue alliance stations.

Game Play

Teams consist of up to two driver operators: a human player, a coach and a robot. Each match is played with four randomly selected teams two per alliance but each alliance is only allowed one human player. Your opponent for one match may be your partner for another.

Matches are made up of several periods totaling two minutes and thirty seconds (2:30). There is a thirty (30) second Autonomous Period, followed by a two (2) minute Driver-Controlled Period. The last thirty (30) seconds of the Driver-Controlled Period is called the End Game. There is an eight-second transition between the Autonomous Period and the Driver-Controlled Period for Teams to pick up the controllers and switch programs. 

When the Match is over and referees signal, Drive Teams collect their Robots, return Possessed Game Elements to the Playing Field, and exit the Competition Area.


Autonomous points

Each cone secured on a junction earns points 2 points for the ground Junction,  3 points for the low Junction, 4 points for the medium Junction, and 5 points for the high Junctions.

A robot parked in their Alliance substation or terminal earns 2 points.

If a robot sensor correctly reads the randomized signal it can park in the corresponding signal zone to earn 10 points. However parking in the proper signal zone shown by a custom signal sleeve will earn 20 points.

Signal image elements

Driver-Controlled tasks

Each cone that is placed in its matching color terminal earns 1 point.

Scoring cones in Junctions earns the same points as during the autonomous period.

During the End Game, robots may score bonus points for owning a Junction. This could be accomplished in two ways. An alliance owns the junction if their colored cone is scored on top. This earns an additional 3 points. The Junction can also be owned by capping it with a beacon. This earns 10 additional points and prevents the opposing Alliance from recapturing that Junction.

An alliance earns 20 points by completing a circuit; this is done by owning a continuous path of Junctions from one terminal to the other.

If a robot is parked in either of their Alliance terminals it earns 2 points; all cones scored during the autonomous period count again if they remain in place at the end of the match.

How to Pass Robot & Field Inspections

Passing Robot and Field Inspections on the morning of a competition can be the most anxiety-inducing experiences of the entire event. The following are some hints to make this easier, drawn from experience at the Inspector’s table during recent events.

Note: Robot Inspection and Field Inspection sometimes are combined during one inspection, sometimes with two (or more) different inspections at different locations.

Robot Inspections

Bring your robot with a charged battery along with your complete driver’s station (with charged battery).  You may need to demonstrate your starting position during Robot Inspections and Field Inspection requires a connected robot and driver station.

A single power switch is required between the robot battery and anything else.  This power switch must be the TETRIX, REV or MATRIX part.  The switch must be labeled, mounted (not hanging by its wires), visible and readily accessible.  Optimal mounting allows the switch to be turned-off with one finger from above (by the Referee while your robot is misbehaving on the field).

All wires should be fastened to the robot and not hanging loose on the outside of the robot where another robot might get entangled with them.  Sometimes wires must be loose to accommodate moving mechanisms on the robot but should be protected and/or controlled as much as possible to avoid entanglement.

Team numbers must at least 2.5 inches high, on a contrasting background, prominently displayed, visible from at least two opposite sides of the Robot (180 degrees apart) and readable from at least 12 feet away.  Numbers should robust and durable to withstand the rigors of Match play.  They can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal.  They must not be obscured when the robot is reconfiguring or operating.

Each team must have four Alliance markers , two of each color, that can be easily changed depending on a team’s alliance color.  Red markers must be a solid red square exactly 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches.  Blue markers must be a solid blue circle exactly 2.5 inches in diameter.  They must mount on the robot so as to not be damaged or knocked-off, on the same side of the robot and within 3 inches of the Team Numbers, and so they are visible to the referees during the match.  Put your team number on them in case you drop one so they can be easily returned to you.

Run your open hands around the surface of the robot to identify any sharp edges or corners.  Cut metal and plastic parts and some extrusions are frequently sharp.  File then down or cover them with tape to prevent injury.

The power switch must have the official label mounted so as to make it easy to find and operate the switch when the robot is in operation.  If the robot moves motors or servos during robot initialization there must be the official label mounted near the power switch.  Both labels will be available at the Robot Inspection station.

The robot must not have elements that ground the robot frame to the playing field.  Electronics may be grounded to the robot frame only using the REV Resistive Grounding Strap.

The Robot Main Battery must be securely mounted to the robot.  It may only be the TETRIX, REV or Modern Robotics/MATRIX 12 volt battery.  Damaged batteries should not be used as they may be a fire hazard.

The REV Digital LED indicator is NOT an allowed part this season because they are powered by the digital port of the hub.  Lights must be powered by an internal battery, from a 12 volt hub motor port, a 5 volt hub power ports, or an I2C sensor port.  Lights must be non-focused and non-directed.

Odometry devices must be of non-commercial design or source.  They may be built using universally available parts and parts manufactured by students from student designs.

If used, teams must have two Beacons, one predominantly red and the other predominantly blue.  They must be student-designed and made from allowed materials, not including game elements of the current season’s game.  At rest on the floor or in scored position they must be at least 3 inches simultaneously in each of the three dimensions and no more than 4 inches in each of the three dimensions.  They must be easily distinguished from the cones so that a referee from at least 12 ft away can identify them and not mistake them for a cone.  If the referee does not recognize the beacon in scoring position it will not be scored.  Avoid wire-frame or cone-shaped beacons to prevent this.  The team number must be on the beacon somewhere so if left behind it can be returned to the team.

If used, the Team Signal Sleeve must be student designed and manufactured ahead of time using the official template.  They must have the custom images and team numbers in the designated spaces on the template and must be machine-printed.  The team numbers must be legible from at least 12 inches away.  The custom images must not resemble the standard images on the standard sleeve.

Field Inspections

Bring your robot with a charged battery along with your complete driver’s station (with charged battery).  You may need to demonstrate your starting position during Robot Inspections and Field Inspection requires a connected robot and driver station.

If using a phone for either controller, make sure it is a model approved for this season.  Allowed models are listed on the Appendix C – Field Inspection Checklist.  During Field Inspection you may need to identify the phone model.

SELF-INSPECTION – With the Driver Station connected to the Robot Controller, while running the Driver Station App, touch the three dots at the top right to drop-down the menu.  Then touch Self Inspect. 

From the INSPECTION REPORTS screen, select Inspect Driver Station.  Scroll down the report and make sure everything is checked or in green.  ANY ITEM IN RED must be resolved.

The Driver Station and Robot Controller must have matching software versions 8.0 or later. Version 8.1.1 is available, but not required.
OS and APP versions may be updated using the REV Hardware Client (windows only). Windows PC can connect to the Driver Station using a USB-C cable or a WiFi connection.  
Be sure to update the RHC from the Internet to access the latest versions. This may be challenging to do during a competition, so make sure to do this before coming.
Inspection tutorial:

This must be {Team Number}-DS, or {Team Number}-B-DS, or {Team Number}-C-DS, etc.  This can be changed by choosing Settings from the app main menu.

The Robot Controller App should not be installed on the Driver Station device.

This must be {Team Number}-RC, or {Team Number}-B-RC, or {Team Number}-C-RS, etc.  This can be changed from by choosing Settings from the app main menu.

The Robot Controller Password must be changed from the default “password”. This can be done from the REV Hardware Client connected to the Robot Controller.  From the Program and Manage tab, select Manage.

Scrolling down the bottom of the Robot Controller Inspection screen will reveal a QR code.  During Field Inspection, the inspector may be able to scan the QR code to collect the Self Inspection results.

This may be performed on the competition fields, depending on the event.

The robot must connect to the driver station and the OpModes must Start and Stop when commanded by the Driver Station.

The Student Driver must understand that if the Referee tells the team during a match to Disable their Robot, the driver should (if drivable) drive the robot to a non-scoring position that will not prevent either alliance from scoring, then press the Stop button on the Driver Station and place the controllers down.

Since the lighting at each event may vary, teams may ask to calibrate their robot on a competition field before the Opening Ceremony.  Please ask a referee for permission to do this and complete your calibration within 5 minutes.

Self Inspection How-To



The highest award that a team can be given.

This judged award is given to the team that truly embodied the “challenge” of the program.  The team that receives this award is a strong ambassador for FIRST® programs and a role model team. This team is a top contender for many other judged awards and is a gracious competitor. The Inspire Award winner is an inspiration to other teams, acting with Gracious Professionalism® both on and off the Playing Field.


Bringing great ideas from concept to reality.

This judged award celebrates a team that not only thinks outside the box, but also has the ingenuity and inventiveness to make its designs come to life. This judged award is given to the team that has the most innovative and creative robot design solution to any or all specific field elements or components in the game.


Industrial design at its best.

This judged award recognizes design elements of the robot that are both functional and aesthetic. All successful robots have innovative design aspects; however, the Design Award is presented to teams that incorporate industrial design elements into their solution. 


Sparking others to embrace the culture of FIRST!

This team embraces the culture of FIRST and clearly demonstrates what it means to be a team. This is a team who makes a collective effort to make FIRST known throughout their school and community, and sparks others to embrace the culture of FIRST.


Connecting the dots between community, FIRST, and the diversity of the engineering world. 

This judged award is given to the team that most connects with their local science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) community. 


Removing engineering obstacles through creative thinking.

This judged award is given to the team that best reflects the journey the team took as they experienced the engineering design process during the build season.

The Engineering Portfolio is the key reference for judges to help identify the most deserving team.


Mastering robot intelligence.

This judged award celebrates a team that uses sensors and software to enhance the robot’s functionality on the field.

PROMOTE (Optional Award)

Many decisions, but choosing FIRST was easy!

This judged award is given to the team that is most successful in creating a compelling video message designed to change our culture and celebrate STEM.

COMPASS (Optional Award)

A beacon and leader in the journey of the team.

This judged award recognizes an adult Coach or Mentor who has provided outstanding guidance and support for a Team throughout the year, and demonstrates to the Team what it means to be a Gracious Professional. 


The winning alliance and finalist alliance are both recognized for their achievement in robot game performance.

More About FTC

Season Information


Thank you to all who help make this program possible for our youth. FIRST® could not exist without the support of our network of mentors, parents, teachers and volunteers who step up to provide their time and expertise to inspire our young people to get excited about science, technology, engineering and math.

2022 - 2023 Season