Around 2007, when manufacturers convinced officials that relay takeoff platforms could measure the exchanges accurately and efficiently—without the need for human observation and manpower—governing bodies accepted the manufacturers' claims, thinking that the technology was fail-safe.
Now, when automatic judging equipment is in use, the system race printout provides the only information to judge relay exchanges when a differential is between -0.09 and +0.09 seconds. Human input is explicitly not considered within this range, unless officially approved integrated back-up timing cameras are in use, to challenge or confirm the automatic system's results. If there is a conflict between the cameras and the automatic equipment, then a referee will have to determine which of the two confirmation processes will be accepted.
In other words, if a championship meet uses electronic relay takeoff platforms and cannot afford expensive backup timing cameras, the electronic printout makes the final call every time.
Despite the claims of manufacturers, the automatic judging system is not fail-safe, as seen by a number of controversial disqualifications both at the NCAA and high school levels. First-hand human observation and common sense video have repeatedly shown that significant errors in the automatic system occur.
Want a quick summary?