Lesson: Intro to the Robot Control System

Explore the components of the FRC robot control system.

Understand the purpose of the robot control system and its various components.


A robot consists of motors, actuators, sensors and other components that provide it's functionality. Your program gets input from and sends commands to those components to operate the robot. Sitting between your code and the hardware components is the Robot Control System

The Robot Control System consists of the hardware and software components that host your Java program and provide the interfaces to the hardware components. The most important piece of the control system is the RoboRio controller, but there is much more to the control system. As a robot programmer you will need to know what these components are and what they do so you can design a program that uses the WpiLib classes that represent the control system components to communicate with those control components and thereby control the hardware systems of your robot. Whew, that is a mouthful!

Typically, the robot programmer participates in the design of the control system and may also participate in locating and attaching control system components and wiring them together as well. To that end it is important to review the documentation for the control system and become familiar with the components, what they do and how they are connected to the RoboRio.

Here is the top level of the RoboRio based control system documentation. You can start here to find information about most any topic.

Here is a discussion of the RoboRio based control system hardware components.

Here is a discussion of the control system software compoments.

Here is a single PDF containing the same information for you to study.

Another great resource is Chief Delphi, an online forum for the FRC platform.