More Finesse as a Driver

Okay so I am the backup robot driver on my team, only because I’m more of an offensive person. Last year, I had no problems going up and blocking people from making shots into a goal. But this year, I can’t seem to get my fingers to settle down-I need to be more careful.

Any suggestions on how I can have more finesse as a robot driver?


If you’re using standard joysticks, I found it helps to hold them down at the base of the stick instead of at the top. Also, a key thing to remember is “go slow to go fast”. It doesn’t matter how fast you go if it doesn’t go like you want it to.

And practice. Lots and lots of practice.

Thank you. We use Xbox 360 controllers, though. I will try to practice more.

I don’t know how anyone could be precise with those…unless you’re like me and practice driving by playing GTA V.

I mostly play games like Call of Duty or Forza Motorsport, where the thumbsticks are almost never used less than 100% whereas this year’s game requires me to move more slowly, so I don’t knock 50 points of totes over.

I would seriously recommend making the switch to standard joysticks. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but the added precision is well worth it.

I’m driving with a logitech controller (the one from the KOP) and it’s personally better for the precision… our backup driver has the same “problem” as him (he was our main last year), and he is always using regular joysticks…

It is probably because of you as a person, the way you handle pressure and react to it, not that it is a bad thing, just depends on the context.

in my opinion, it’s all about the driver; this game may not be the best for you. Just remember you are good somewhere else :slight_smile:

Like I said, I’m more of an offensive driver. Maybe next year the game will be something along the lines of Battlebots, then I can drive :smiley:

Exactly :smiley:

In response to the joysticks, I find that the xBox controller is easier to control with but I can use the standard joysticks just well, it just takes practice if you want to adapt. We usually design our driver’s station around the drivers so they use what they are best with. In terms of driving better, I have found a few things help. One is adding buttons on the controller to enable a slow speed mode that limits the max speed of the robot giving fine control in those moments when it is needed. Another is squaring the values of the joysticks in the software so that their is finer control at the low speeds but at the high speeds it rapidly rises. If you do this just make sure you account for the sign (squaring a value will get rid of negatives). Practice is also important. Staying calm is very important. It may not seem like it but 2 minutes is a lot of time. When practicing, try to use the practice function on the driver’s station to simulate the real stress of last second stacks. Be patient while driving. Tortoise vs Hare.

First of all, we were 7th seed alliance partners in Escanaba. Hi! :smiley: Secondly, thank you for your suggestions. Today I tried the 2:20 tele operated time limit and it seemed to make a difference after a few tries.

Hello! I was 4392’s Drive coach. Were you the diver at Escanaba?

Nope. I was one of the boys wearing a tutu…with the black fedora

At the beginning of the season and during testing in the lab I had a similar issue. I was used to the classic “Drive it like you stole it” mentality, playing extremely aggressively. One thing that helped me improve was simply sitting down with a gamepad identical to the one my team was using and going through the motions I had to make in a match. For instance, this year our team had some issues where if we didn’t turn very very carefully then our stack would collapse. I practiced accelerating extremely slowly while I was doing other things. While I was having conversations or sitting around in my free time I would be gently moving around the analog sticks, trying to move as slowly as possible.

Also this year my team implemented software “gear shifting” that allows the driver to half the voltage going to our motors. Between these two solutions I was able to handle the unique challenges of driving in Recycle Rush.

Thanks! I’m definitely going to try making the motions of driving the robot as we’re headed to the Michigan Championships in a couple days. Thanks again!

I was driver during 2014 like you and was super aggressive and loved to play defense.

I think however what toned me down is our team’s robot this year only goes like 5 feet a second in low gear whichiis its default. That kinda forced me to drive with more finesse.

Make one of the triggers on the gamepad reduce the speed by 40 percent when held if you don’t have a shifting drive train.

It’s like how you get to Carnegie hall. Practice, practice, practice.

Last year as driver I drove with two joysticks in a tank drive configuration (hands near the base of the controller) AND then i added a 3D printed pedal that i wired that when pushed the speed would become ~40% of what the controllers said.

There are several things you can do to make it easier to drive. The code can be changed to make the joystick controls exponential (multiply the joystick value times the absolute value of itself). how is the controller set up? steering on one stick, throttle on the other, to make it “split arcade” seems to be more controllable than tank or arcade drive. And you can try an alternate type of controller, such as an RC car control with a small steering wheel and throttle trigger, wired into the guts of a normal USB controller. Also the robot drivetrain design has a lot to do with it, as well as the gear ratios. I’ve seen a few excellent teams using only one CIM per side on the robot drive this year. Omni wheels are pretty forgiving when turning the robot just a little bit.

We got lucky this year, our driver has fantastic control over the robot…and he sure needed it.

I know it’s been said, but above all, try switching to regular joysticks, and grip them at the base. I’ve driven robots with both styles, though the xox controller robots were at college, not FIRST bots, but as someone who has used both, I’d say traditional joysticks are leaps and bounds more accurate for precision driving. At least give it a try, you may like what you find.