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  • Jay Femrite

We Got Swerve! ...What's That?

Whether you are a family member of someone in FIRST or are actively involved with FIRST yourself, you have most likely heard someone mention a "swerve drivetrain" at least once. The popularity of swerve greatly increased during last year's season where having one was a wonderful advantage. It's maneuverable, speedy, and honestly, pretty amazing. So... what exactly is it? The way swerve was initially described to me, and how it is often described quickly, is with an analogy to a shopping cart. While this is slightly accurate, it can be confusing to someone who has never seen an assembled swerve drivetrain before. The similarity between a shopping cart and swerve is that the wheels move and drive independently of each other, but from there, imagining how a robot could possibly function on shopping cart style wheels is slightly challenging. This analogy fails when it excludes the specific details of how the wheels move. Two motors are attached to each swerve module; one controlling the turn, and one controlling directional motion. Four modules make up a drivetrain, where each wheel rotates and moves from its own two motors.

We began assembling swerve a couple weeks ago and have been dedicating the majority of our time during practices to the completion of it in hopes to have it fully functioning in two weeks for an offseason event in Alexandria. While we cannot guarantee swerve will be the ideal drivetrain for the 22-23 season, we are still very glad to have the opportunity to build it and learn more about it.

Pictured above is our swerve drivetrain that we are currently working on and improving.

- Written by Cal Athmann

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