FIRST®, the FIRST® logo, FIRST® Robotics Competition, FRC®, Coopertition®, and Gracious Professionalism® are registered trademarks, and Sport for the Mind™ are common law trademarks of the United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®). ©2014 FIRST. All rights reserved.


Following the guidelines will ensure that your robot arrives where it needs to be on time so that your team can focus on the important thing – participating in the event!
5 Robot Transportation

FIRST®, the FIRST® logo, FIRST® Robotics Competition, FRC®, Coopertition®, and Gracious Professionalism® are registered trademarks, and Sport for the Mind™ are common law trademarks of the United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®). ©2014 FIRST. All rights reserved.


Following the guidelines will ensure that your robot arrives where it needs to be on time so that your team can focus on the important thing – participating in the event!

All teams must cease work on their robot on or before Stop Build Day. Any team that fails to comply may jeopardize their participation in the rest of the FRC season. If the team is not able to access their robot on Stop Build Day for bagging (e.g. the team’s school is closed due to weather), the team will be able to bag late without penalty. The team may not perform more work on their robot after midnight Stop Build Day. The team may only take their robot, as it was on midnight of Stop Build Day, and put it in the bag after that time, without performing any additional work. The team should note on the Robot Lock-Up Form the reason for the late bag closure.

Note that “Stop Build Day” is a specific date, so you may work on your robot until midnight on that date in whatever time zone you are working.

All teams must “Bag and Tag” their robots. Teams are also required to transport their bagged and tagged (secured with one supplied zip tie from KoP) robot to their competition event(s). 

When transporting their robot, teams may use any transportation method they wish (at their own risk and expense), as long as the robot remains sealed in the bag.

You must bring your own bagged, tagged and sealed robot into the venue through the designated robot entrance. Teams will NOT have access to the loading docks or forklifts; we recommend bringing a rolling cart or dolly to facilitate the load in. 


Each team will receive a special “Bag and Tag” kit in January with their Kit of Parts (KoP). The kit will contain:

  • two plastic bags large enough to contain your robot; and
  • at least six zip tie tags with individual serial numbers.

Information on where to obtain additional tags can be found on the Where to Get More? document on the Kit of Parts website.

  1. Bag and Tag your robot on Stop Build Day, and complete the Robot Lock-Up Form.

The Proper Bagging Procedure:

  • Set the bag on the floor, leaving room for the robot in the center.
    • Bags are provided in the Kickoff Kit for your convenience; however there is no requirement that Teams use those exact bags. Any commercially available clear bag large enough to contain the Robot may be used.
  • Place the robot in the center of the bag and pull the bag up around the robot. Be careful not to catch the bag on any corners or sharp edges.
  • Tightly seal the bag with your next numbered tag.
    • If you run out of the tags supplied, you may use any commercially available serialized security tags.
    • If you need to lock up your robot and are not able to obtain additional tags in time, you may use a cable tie and create a numbered label yourself.
      • Inspectors will pay close attention to these home-made tags.  Be prepared for additional discussion.
  • Complete the Robot Lock-Up Form as required in Section 5.5 to verify the date and time that the bag was sealed.
  • If required, the Team may use two (2) bags to facilitate easier robot transportation. The second bag must also be sealed with a numbered tag and logged on the Robot Lock-Up Form.
  1. You may NOT open your bag until:

a) it has been checked, approved by an on-site inspector, AND

b) the pits have officially been opened for robot work. You must have your Robot Lock-Up Form ready for review at the event.  DO NOT forget to bring it.

  1. After your Robot Lock-Up Form has been properly checked and approved, your team may open the bag and prepare to compete.
  2. After the event, if you are attending another event, such as the Championship or another Regional or District event, re-seal your robot in the bag with a new tag and enter the new tag number on the Robot Lock-Up Form.  You may not access your robot again until the next event, unless you are attending a Two-day District event, as explained in Section 5.6.
  3. Remove your robot from the event through the designated exit.
  4. If you are attending the Championship as your next event, or have been granted an Exemption to ship your robot to an additional event, follow the instructions listed in Section 5.7.
5.4.1 Completing the Robot Lock-Up Form

The Robot Lock-up Form is available on the home page of the FRC Competition Manual: Make sure that you complete every item on the form. INCOMPLETE FORMS WILL BE REJECTED BY INSPECTORS AT EVENTS AND DELAY EVENT PARTICIPATION. The Robot Lock-Up Form must be completed by an adult, 18 years old or older, who is NOT a student on the team.

By signing this form the signatory attests to the fact that he/she is:

  • 18 years old or older;
  • not a student member of the team, and
  • making certain all rules and regulations regarding access periods and lock/unlock are being followed. Cell phone numbers are required for verification in case inspectors at events have questions regarding the form.

Remember to bring your Robot Lock-Up Form to your event.  A missing Robot Lock-Up Form is one of the top reasons teams are delayed in being allowed to un-bag their robots on time at events.  Be ready to show your Robot Lock-Up Form when you first arrive at your event with your robot.

5.4.2 When the Robot Lock-Up Form is required to be used

The Robot Lock-Up Form MUST be used:

  • on “Stop Build Day”;
  • after “Stop Build Day”, during Robot Displays (new this year, see section 5.4.3)
  • during any ‘Robot Access Period’ taken advantage of if you are attending a Two-day District event.  See Section 5.6 for details.  The ‘Robot Access Period’ only applies to teams attending Two-day District events.  Teams attending Three-day Regional events do not have a ‘Robot Access Period’; and/or
  • before you leave an event, if you expect you will/may be attending a later event.

The Robot Lock-Up Form DOES NOT need to be used:

  • before “Stop Build Day”;
  • during the event; and/or
  • after an event, UNLESS you are competing at any later events, including the Championship.
5.4.3 Robot Displays

New this year!  To assist teams with their promotional and community relations activities, robots may be unbagged and operated briefly after “Stop Build Day” for display purposes only.

  • The intent of this option is to allow teams to briefly show their robot to their community, sponsors, or potential sponsors after “Stop Build Day”.
    • Unbagging a robot and putting it on display for many hours (i.e. more than four (4))  at a time would not be considered a ‘brief’ display
  • The Robot Lock-Up Form must be used to track the unbagging and rebagging of the robot during this period.  In the ‘Explanation’ column of the form, enter ‘Robot Display’
  • No activity that could be considered ‘work on’ or ‘practice with’ the robot is allowed
  • Brief displays of robot functions – driving, for example - are allowed, but not to the extent that they could be considered practice
    • A good way to avoid turning a robot display period in to a practice session is to have non-drive team members operate the robot, and only for as short a time as necessary to show the robot’s capabilities
  • If you have any questions about this new Robot Display option, please email

If the methods listed for transporting your robot with our traditional “Bag and Tag” system do not work for your team, you may request a Robot Transport Exemption. FIRST will provide two (2) shipments to teams granted the Exemption.  With this Exemption, your team will be exempt from the physical transportation of the robot to the venue; teams are still required to Bag and Tag their robot.

Basic Exemption Information:

  1. You may request a Robot Transport Exemption by emailing  
  2. Include as much detail as you can in your request, and use the subject line: “Robot Transport Exemption Request, Team XXXX”, with your team number in place of ‘XXXX’
  3. Only teams that have requested and been granted a Robot Transport Exemption will be able to make use of the FedEx shipping donation. 
  4. Robot Transport Exemptions are for Regional Events only.  Robot Transport Exemptions to District Events will not be permitted. 
  5. Robot Transport Exemption requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Not every request will be granted.  Exemptions must be submitted by December 6, 2013.
  6. If you request an Exemption but then do not have a need for it, you MUST notify FIRST HQ that you no longer require an Exemption by emailing
  7. Team’s requests for Exemptions to consecutive weekly events will NOT be granted.
  8. If an Exemption is approved, FIRST HQ will establish a robot storage/drayage location near the event site. 
  9. Robot transportation services under the FedEx donation will be provided for that event and FIRST HQ will provide shipping instructions for approved teams.

DO NOT SHIP ROBOTS DIRECTLY TO THE SITE!  All Robot Transport Exemptions must use the Drayage service that is provided by FIRST.  For more information, see Administrative Manual Section 5.4 - Robot Lock and Unlock Instructions.

If you have been granted a Robot Transport Exemption, you can find shipping instructions under Administrative Manual - Section 5.7.1- Shipping Instructions for Exemption Granted Teams.

NOTE:  Robots with exemptions and those attending the Championship must be bagged and tagged with the robot shipped in a shipping crate. Teams may not open the bag until an onsite inspector has approved your team to do so.


Two-day District events for the 2014 season include Michigan District Events, Mid-Atlantic Robotics District Events, New England District Events and Pacific Northwest District Events. Teams attending these events will not have as much time to work on their robots at events as teams attending traditional Three-day Regional events. Due to this, teams are granted an additional “Robot Access Period” to unbag their robot between “Stop Build Day” and their Two-day District events.

Teams attending Traditional Regional Events are NOT granted a “Robot Access Period” after “Stop Build Day”.  This section only applies to teams attending District Events.

5.6.1 'Robot Access Period' - Permitted Actions

During the Robot Access Period, teams may perform any activity they would normally do during the build season, including practicing with the robot.

5.6.2 'Robot Access Period' - Schedule

Teams may unlock their robot for a total of 6 hours during the 7-day period preceding any two-day event in which their team will be competing with their robot. The 6 hours may be broken up in any way the team wishes, with the exception that no single access period may be shorter than 30 minutes and the team may not have more than 3 access periods prior to each event. The robot must be locked up in between sessions and this must be documented on the Robot Lock-Up Form each time.


All Robot Transport Exemption granted teams and ALL teams attending the Championship must build a crate to ship their robot in. Robot shipments in crates must abide by standard freight shipping processes. This applies to any team moving their robot within a crate. FedEx will not pick up a robot that is not in a crate. All Robot Transport Exemption teams will receive detailed shipping instructions in their KoP. Teams attending the Championship will receive detailed shipping instructions upon qualifying for the event.

See the “Shipping Crate Construction” document posted with the FRC Administrative Manual for more details: As a reminder these minimum guidelines must be followed:

Keep your FILLED crate weight below 400 pounds. Teams are expected to use their crate to ship their robot and to minimize any additional components or tools included, in order to keep the crate weight below 400 pounds.  DO NOT include any tools, luggage or additional materials that will cause your crate to exceed the maximum weight.  Any teams exceeding 400 pounds will be charged overage fees accordingly

FedEx Freight requires prior notice for pickups, especially if your location does not have a loading dock. If you have been granted an Exemption and/or are attending the Championship, you must call one week ahead to schedule your pickup AND indicate if there are any special instructions for pickup, i.e., lift gate needed or shipment is located at a school. Please make sure you contact the appropriate division of FedEx based upon the instructions provided on your waybill; i.e., Air, International Express or Freight. For more information see the “Quoting and Booking a Robot Crate” document posted with the FRC Administrative Manual for more details:


Teams granted an Exemption or attending Championship MAY ship or bring a tool crate.  Some teams choose to ship or bring a second crate to the event(s) to have additional tools available.

 Shipping a second crate is allowed, but only if the team meets the following requirements:

  1. The team is solely responsible for ALL shipping and drayage costs for their second crate;
  2. The second crate may NOT be shipped using the FedEx donation.  Abuse of the FedEx donation may result in a loss of this option for teams in the future; 
  3. Paint or stencil TOOL CRATE” in letters at least 6 inches tall on each side of the crate.  Failure to properly label which crate contains tools may delay arrival of your robot at the event.
5.7.1 Shipping Instructions for Exemptions Granted Teams

If you are approved for an exemption, FIRST HQ will provide you with two FedEx vouchers for transportation to/from the official drayage location with specific instructions as to which type of FedEx service you are eligible for based upon geography. 

  1. Your robot will be shipped to a drayage location identified by FIRST depending upon the location where it will be stored and then transported in time for your event.    
  2. Once at the venue, you will uncrate the robot and return it to the crate at the conclusion of the event for re-shipment. 
  3. Once the robot is re-crated, fill out and attach the appropriate shipping documentation to the crate to facilitate shipping from the drayage facility to its next destination (Regional, home, or Championship). 
  4. Please keep one (1) copy of your shipping documentation for your records to track the shipment. As soon you are able, please provide FIRST HQ ( with a copy of your shipping documentation.  This will allow FIRST to assist with any logistical complications.
  5. The drayage company will pick it up at the event, bring it back to the drayage location and ship the robot to its next destination using instructions you provide which are attached to your crate.
  6. International teams:

a.    Please make sure you have also included the necessary customs documents; i.e., commercial invoice and certificate of origin, etc… so that your shipment is not delayed. 

b.    Due to import and export laws, FIRST has created a secondary document for International Teams. For more information see the “International Shipment Guide” document posted with the FRC Administrative Manual for more details:


If your first event is the one to which you have been granted a Robot Transport Exemption, you must still bag and tag your robot on “Stop Build Day”.  You may be able to delay shipping your robot until after “Stop Build Day”, and inspectors will need evidence that the robot has not been worked on between “Stop Build Day” and shipment.  Follow the Robot Lock and Unlock Instructions in Section 5.5 to lock up your robot. DO NOT open your bag at the event until it has been checked, approved by an inspector, AND the pits have officially opened for robot work. Remember you will need to re-bag the robot again at the conclusion of the event if you are going to a later competition.

If the event to which you have been granted an Robot Transport Exemption is not your first event you must bag and tag your robot at the conclusion of the earlier event, bring it back to your build site or other location away from the event venue, crate the robot and prepare for shipment. Follow the Robot Lock and Unlock Instructions in Administrative Manual Section 5.5 - Requesting a Robot Transport Exemption to lock up your robot at the earlier event. DO NOT open your bag at the next event until it has been checked, approved by an inspector AND the pits have officially opened for robot work. Remember you will need to bag the robot again at the conclusion of the next event if you are going to a later competition.


  1. If you are granted more than one Robot Transport Exemption, you will still ONLY receive two FedEx vouchers. Multiple exemptions do not increase the number of FedEx vouchers a team will receive.  The maximum number of FedEx vouchers any team will receive during the season is two (2).
  2. After you have used your two FedEx vouchers, you will be responsible for the robot shipping costs to/from the additional events in which your team is competing, including the Championship.
  3. When teams qualify for the Championship, they will receive one (1) FedEx Voucher at the qualifying Regional to ship their robot to St. Louis.  However, teams with a Robot Transport Exemption will NOT receive this voucher, as the two initial vouchers received are the maximum allowance of shipping vouchers for teams per above.

Teams with Robot Transport Exemptions have the option of using their second voucher to get to a second Regional, or Championship, or home. (ALL teams will receive a voucher to get their robot home from Championship at the Championship event during Check In).

5.7.2 Shipping Your Robot to the Championship


  1. If your team qualifies for Championship, you will be given one (1) FedEx voucher at the qualifying event for shipping your robot to the Championship.  All robots must be shipped to Championship.  Team may not bring their robot themselves to Championship. 
  2. Go to Pit Administration to procure this voucher.  Pit Administration will have the complete list of Championship qualifying teams.
  3. Robots going to the Championship must be shipped by the Thursday after the final event that the team participated.

a.    Non-Exemption Granted Teams:

i. After you have competed at another event, you must ensure your robot is bagged and tagged at the conclusion of that event per the instructions in Section 5.3.  Bring your robot back to your build site or other location away from the event venue, crate the robot and prepare for shipment to Championship. Follow the instructions as outlined in Section 5.7 regarding crating requirements.

b.    Exemption Granted Teams:

i. If you are shipping to Championship from an earlier event in which you were given an Exemption, your robot will be sent from that earlier event to its drayage location.  From there, your robot will be shipped directly to the Championship drayage location.

  1. All teams attending the Championship will receive (1) one shipment home for their robot under the FedEx donation. The FedEx voucher for this shipment will be distributed at the Championship in the team’s Check In packet.
  2. If the team would like to take their robot home as they leave Championship, they MUST email to have their request approved.
5.7.3 Shipping your Robot using your own Funds

Teams may ship their robot to any event at their own cost without receiving an approved Robot Transport Exemption from FIRST. DO NOT ship directly to the venue.  

However, unless a team has received an exemption approval, the final leg of the robot’s journey, arrival at the venue and delivery to the team pit, must be done by hand by the team.

5.8.1 FIRST Is Your Main Contact

If you have any questions about robot shipping rules or processes, CALL FIRST! Rules in this chapter are written and administered by FIRST, not FedEx. FIRST is not responsible for information given by representatives of outside vendors.

Additional instructions:
Download shipping labels and Robot Lock Up Form:
Phone: (800) 871-8326 OR (603)666-3906 - 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM EST

Subject line: FIRST Team [your #] Shipping Question

Fax: (603) 666-3907
Team Support/Operations
200 Bedford Street
Manchester, NH 03101


5.8.2 FedEx

Call FedEx to schedule your pickup and with any FedEx tracking questions. Have your Bill of Lading and/or Pro Number available when you call.

Phone - FedEx Freight: 1-866-393-4585
Phone - FedEx Express: 1-800-GO-FedEx (1-800-463-3339)


Date Section Revision
11/27/13 5.1 Changed Stop Build Day date to February 18, 2014