What is the best competition swerve drive of all time in FRC history and what made it great?
Most commercially available swerves are very good. I would suggest checking out WCP’s version and SDS MK3 and MK4. Amongst the teams, check out 1323 and 2910. There are many other great teams other people will point out. Also, you might wanna view this.
Something that will be severely lacking from swerve, percentage wise, going forward…
2910 has been very famous for killing it with their swerve drive. They are the pioneers of the SDS swerve modules. But as troy said, the drivers are what made that great more than anything else.
team 1640 has a history of making their own swerve drive modules with built in CVTs (continuous variable transmission). Also 148 made a 12 motor swerve bot with all falcons, but that was for the infinite recharge at home challenges.
2767 and 16 have both have awesome swerves for years
16 has a beautiful swerve, can’t wait to see it in action at Orlando!
Several teams have fielded swerve drive systems with some special feature. For example, 1640 has fielded several iterations of a CVT swerve to expand the speed and torque range. Differential swerve is another solution to allow more pushing power and higher speed due to using 2 drive motors per wheel. In 2018, 33 put 2 drive motors on two of their swerve modules so that the total pushing power of the robot was 6 motors instead of 4.
The reality is that with the torque and power available from modern brushless motors, a max weight robot with 4 NEO or Falcon drive motors will be traction limited (and therefore limiting your pushing power and acceleration) if you gear it for anything slower than about 11 ft/s theoretical free speed and the fastest controllable speed is probably limited to a theoretical free speed of around 15 ft/s or so. So the gains in top speed that would be available from utilizing extra power or shifting are not really buying you much in terms of top speed and the added complexity of a shifting or CVT system in terms of programming the control system will probably cancel out any potential gains on the field. 33’s 2018 answer of adding 2 additional drive motors is probably the simplest way to bridge the traction limited vs max speed speed limited gearing gap. With the extra 4 power slots available with this year’s REV power hub, you may see some swerve teams dedicate a couple of extra motors to drive in order to squeeze out some extra top speed. But, honestly I would expect most teams to stick with what they know.
So, while I really like 1640’s latest CVT swerve in terms of specialty drives and I am following the development of some of the really clever differential swerves to see how well they perform, in my opinion, the best swerve drives are the ones that have developed a level of robustness and simplicity to make them battle ready. I really like the upgrades that SDS did with the MK4 modules in terms of robustness. The WCP swerve looks really robust as well. So I would put both of those designs at the very top of my list of “Best Swerve Drive”.
If ‘best’ to you means most technologically advanced, check out the differential swerve modules or the shifting swerves you see floating around on Chief. If ‘best’ to you means most successful, I’d take a look at the most competitively successful teams which have fielded swerve. Off the top of my head are 2910, 1323, and 2767, but there are more out there. Plain and simple, some teams over-engineer their solutions and see little to no benefits, if not hindrances. You can have a simple design and run the practice bot into the ground and make it the ‘best’ swerve.
This thread wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the OG swerve gods. RIP 1717
71, 111, and 47 would like to have a word about ogs. You need to have a great driver to make a swerve, swerve. Doesn’t matter how good any robot is if you can’t perform with it to the edge of its capabilities.
What, Cory? You mean we actually have to drive our swerve, like, a lot? Who’d a thunk?
Here’s some OG - 1999 190…
The conversation about the one “true” OG great swerve drive is never going to be settled because progress was made in so many steps. You can talk about 47 back in 2000, then there were a bunch of teams throughout the '00s with what I would consider to be historically significant swerve bots. I’d call out 111 in 2004 with their stair steppers, 118 in the 2005-08 era with their crab-and-turret combinations, and 148 in 2008. Then 16 is the team who I think carries the torch for swerve drives into the “modern era” post-2009. 1717 in 2012 was a revelation in terms of the fluidity and programming complexity they showed was achievable. Since then there’s been a real proliferation and it’s hard to name any one above the others. I would just throw my hat in for 2767 in 2017 as one that made me really happy to see because they did it really well and they got so much recognition out of it as a team from Michigan, where I think there was previously a sense that we were the hard-working auto engineering types who didn’t need no fancy coastal swerve drives to be successful.
This is also in part why mecanum wheels have such a bad name in FRC in general. The accessibility and relative ease of integration has lead to a LOT of poorly programmed bots which in turn leads to drivers that cant drive them to the full potential.
I think the first actually GOOD mecanum bit I ever saw was in Iowa Regional 2017. I can’t recall the team number, but 2017 changed a lot of viewpoints in general.
There were also some real oddballs.
79 had some weird set up with a swerving wheel in 01 that they shifted onto only when carrying a goal cuz it was geared crazy low.
But this was back in the days before dog shifters were common and teams were still doing crash boxes. Crazy times.
I remember 79 from 03!! They came up north and we (358 at the time) played with them in the elims. That was back in the days of 2 robot alliances. Their SWERVE blew our minds!