Autonomous Tips?

Judging by my rookie year, you can see that I have never had to do an auto. As of 2020, can anyone offer any tips as to how to get started? Thanks very much!

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Start ASAP with getting one side of your robot to move for a certain time. This is the bare minimum auto for 2020. What language and framework are you using?

Java command

Or just get it to move really really slowly.

But no do it the other way.

I would say that like anything, you want to start small and then work your way forward. I do not know what kind of technical know-how your team has/had but use the resources around you (mentors, alumni, veteran members) as well as old code.

Some technical advice:

  • Well designed mechanisms supersede control loops, its going to be hard to get your robot to drive straight in auto if you can’t do it in teleop
  • Control loops are key to repetitive autonomous success
  • To get control loops to work you need sensors which report back accurate data first

Go through the above list first and then do the following:

  • drive straight for X seconds
  • drive straight for X feet
  • turn 90 degrees
  • turn X degrees
  • follow a curve with X radius

Once you master these, you can look into more complicated autonomous programming (like Jaci’s Path Gen).

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We have pretty good resources. This is mostly me just trying to understand an unfamiliar concept.

Check out the “0 to Autonomous” video series. That’s a great introduction to programming auto in Java to drive straight for a certain amount of time. Like @JacobD said, start with driving straight for a certain amount of time, then find ways to incorporate other movements.


There’s also trajectory generation built into WPILib for 2020 that actually obeys constraints properly and can generate trajectories within a few milliseconds instead of several seconds.


Adding on to that, @SeanSun6814 is accessible here on CD (and I’m here to bug him to respond)!

My video series has theories, animations, line-by-line coding, source code, demos, and tuning.
The series is still in development, but if you have any questions so far, feel free to reach out to me.

Its been really helpful!