Competitions - VEX Robotics Competition

For questions relating to the TSA competition, please post at the VEX Robotics Competition Forums
Learn to use our forums - Click Here


Below you will find a description of the VEX Robotics Competition
and resources that the Robotics Academy has available for FREE!



What is the VEX Robotics Competition?

The VEX Robotics Design System was developed and engineered with co-curricular and extracurricular robotics competitions specifically in mind. VEX equipment owners have a rapidly expanding selection of opportunities to experience the fun, motivation and excitement of competition. Some robotics competitions feature the VEX System exclusively while others have made select VEX components legal for participation. While the goals and resource requirements of these programs vary, they each leverage the affordability, reliability, flexibility and safety of the VEX System and components. Following are three programs developed exclusively for VEX equipment.


What is on this page?

Download ROBOTC Link


Getting Started with the Cortex

Listed below are a combination of PDFs and videos which will help you get started using the VEX CORTEX. They will take you through building a robot, getting the CORTEX up and running, and writing code.


Build a robot

Dont have a robot built yet? Here is a simple design, complete with step-by-step building instructions.

  1. RECBOT Building Instructions [PDF]

Preparing the Cortex System

ROBOTC requires special firmware to communicate with the Cortex and Joystick controllers.

  1. Download Cortex Master Firmware [Video] - Update the Master Firmware on your Cortex using ROBOTC
  2. Download VEXnet Joystick Master Firmware Part 1 [Video] - Download the latest firmware to your Joystick
  3. Download VEXnet Joystick Master Firmware Part 2 [Video] - Part 2 of downloading firmware on your VEXnet Joystick
  4. Pairing the VEXnet Joystick with the Cortex [PDF] - Pair a VEX Cortex microcontroller to a VEXnet Remote Control
  5. Download ROBOTC Firmware to Cortex [Video]

Download a ROBOTC Sample Program

Sample programs provide already-working examples of how to program in the ROBOTC language, and can be downloaded over VEXnet or USB.


Option 1: Downloading over VEXnet

  1. Download a Sample Program Part 1 [Video]
  2. Download a Sample Program Part 2 [Video]

Option 2: Downloading over USB

  1. Download a Sample Program [PDF]

Modifying Code Examples

Make changes to a sample program to see how your modifications affect the robots behavior.

  1. Moving Forward - Program Dissection [Video]
  2. Moving Forward - Reversing Motor Polarity [Video]
  3. Moving Forward - Renaming Motors [Video]
  4. Moving Forward - Timing [Video]


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Online Training icon

View FREE Webinars! 


Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy will be offering a webinar on how to get started programming the Cortex controller.  The webinar series will last 6 weeks and is designed to help you to learn how to get your cortex Controller up and running.


Links to the webinars can be found below: 

  1. Week 1: Resources and ROBOTC Features
  2. Week 2: Remote Control Programming
  3. Week 3: Moving with the Shaft Encoders
  4. Week 4: Moving Straight with the Shaft Encoders
  5. Week 5: Wireless Debugging and Competition Templates

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Curriculum Resources

ROBOTC for Cortex

CORTEX Video Trainer

This set of lessons is currently under development and should be complete by the end of October.  This will get you started.


Click here to view the Cortex Video Trainer



Carnegie Mellon VEX Curriculum

VEX Curriculum 2.0 Screenshot

The VEX curriculum is a one stop shop for students that want to learn how to get the most out of their VEX hardware and software. 


Click here to view the VEX Curriculum 2.0


To learn how radio signals are sent, how much current that your robot will draw, how much weight will a motor lift, or the relationship between gears, speed, and torque go here:

Lessons > Electronics, Programming, and Hardware


To learn the logic behind how to program your robot, how your VEX sensors work, and how to program in ROBOTC go here:

Programming: Make your robot intelligent


To learn how to use a multi-meter, how to solder, how to crimp, how to fasten parts to your robot, or how to tap a hole go here:

Resources: Extended Learning



Teaching ROBOTC for IFI VEX Robots

Teaching ROBOTC for VEX

This set of lessons assumes that you are a new programmer that is just beginning to use ROBOTC and VEX hardware.  Move step-by-step through these lessons learning about fundamental programming logic, how to control your robot’s movement using code, how to program your robots radio and how sensors work. Invest a little bit of time with these units and you will be

programming your robot to do all kinds of cool things.


Click here to view Teaching ROBOTC for IFI VEX


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Other Support Options

ROBOTC support

If you are having issues with the PIC or Cortex microcontrollers and using ROBOTC please check here:

ROBOTC Support for VEX


The ROBOTC Forums

The forums provides a place where you can quickly find answers to your questions.  If you are having issues with code and cant find the answer, search the forums or post your question and others can help.


Click here if you've never used a forum and want a quick guide to logging on, posting questions, and using the built-in search function.



Learn about what the community is doing with ROBOTC go to the ROBOTC Blog.


ROBOTC Curriculum screenshot

Click to go to the ROBOTC Forums


Never used a forum before? Click here


There are specific forums for different competitions.  We can add forum support if you request it.


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Purchase VEX Hardware

Looking for VEX hardware? Browse through our online store to find what you need:


VEX Hardware at the Robomatter Store


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