Greetings Florida FTC Teams, Coaches, Volunteers, and Sponsors:

I hope that everyone has been busy designing and building your robots in preparation for your first event. All of your league volunteers are busy preparing for those initial events and that is the primary focus of this Florida FTC newsletter.  This email contains information that will help you prepare for the season. The following are the topics covered this Florida FTC newsletter:

1.                  Registering for Events

2.                  Important 2019-20 Season Rule Changes (Repeat)

3.                  Dean’s List Nominations

4.                  Help with Identifying Game Elements with a Camera – Tensor Flow

Newsletter Details:

1.      Register for Events – League event dates and locations have been finalized and published on the website. It is now time for you to determine which events you would like to attend and register for those events. If you are a new coach and/or a rookie team, I strongly encourage you to attend the workshops and/or scrimmages that have been scheduled by each of the leagues. This is a great opportunity to learn how events are run and make sure your team is properly prepared for the first official league meet of the season.State wide events are published on the website and can be found on the following page:  It is important that teams register to attend league and state events to help the event organizers prepare the venue for the number of teams that will be attending. If your team would like to attend an event, you must register for the event by going to the following web page: You will need a six digit passcode to register for events. Within a week of you completing your FIRST team registration process, you will receive an automated email from the website with your passcode. Please keep this email in safe place as you will use the same passcode throughout the 2019-20 season to register for events.  If you do not receive the passcode email, I suggest you first check through your SPAM folder and if you still not able to locate the email you can request the code by visiting the following web page:


2.      2019-20 Season Rule Changes – Game Manual Part 1 was published on the FIRST website on July 10, 2019 and can be found on the following web page:   I hope that everyone has taking the time to review Part 1 of the game manual as there are a number of very important rule changes.  The following are three important rule changes that I want to bring to everyone’s attention:

  • RG06 Alliance Marker – The rule on the bottom of page 28 highlights the fact that tournament hosts will no longer be providing the blue and red alliance flags that robots use during match play. It is now the team’s responsibility to provide a Red and Blue Alliance Marker. Please read the rule carefully to ensure your team created the correct alliance markers
  • Section 3.3, rule <T8> -- There is a new type of player that will be joining the drive team at the field.  A Human Player has been added to the drive team description this season and I am sure that we will learn more about the purpose for the Human Player when Part 2 of the Game Manual is published on September 7, 2019.
  • Section 4.8.1 Calculating Ranking – The scoring software provides a team ranking at each of our events and influences which teams become captains during the alliance matches at the league championship, state championship, and world championship.  The general approach to this ranking process has been relatively consistent over the last 13 years with just a few very minor changes to the calculation. However, the Ranking Point and now TieBreaker Points calculation has changes. Therefore, I encourage teams to review this section to better understand how team rankers are determined at events.

3.      Dean’s List Nominations – Do you have a student on your team, who above all others, demonstrates leadership, has an entrepreneurial spirit and is dedicated to increasing awareness of FIRST®? FIRST Tech Challenge students are changing the world, so help the change-maker on your team further their potential and nominate them for the Dean’s List Award. Dean’s list nominations for all of the Florida league must be submitted by December 31, 2019 and the nominations will be interviewed at your league championship.  The four Florida Dean’s List finalist are announced at the Florida Championship.The Dean’s List Award recognizes the leaders and ambassadors from each FIRST Tech Challenge team. This recognition helps these inspiring students attract recruiters and stand out on their college applications and resumes.Read the nomination guide to start yours today. Please note that only students in grades 10 and 11 are eligible. To nominate a student please log in to your Dashboard at, click “Certificates & Awards” under Team Options, and select “FTC Dean’s List Awards Submissions.”

4.      Help with Identifying Game Elements with a Camera – Tensor Flow -- The game release has come!  Now it’s time to build and program your robot. For this year’s game, one scoring opportunity is to recognize and move skystones in autonomous mode. For this season, you have the option to use specialized machine learning software to simplify the task of identifying and tracking the game elements during autonomous mode. TensorFlow, Google’s “machine learning technology,” has been trained to recognize the game elements from this season’s challenge. You can use this technology to program your robot to look for and navigate to game elements, such as a skystone. Learn more in our TensorFlow blog post!

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