A swerve drive has four independently rotating wheels, allowing it to spin and pivot in place, as well as translate in any direction without rotating.
In 2010, for the soccer-themed Breakaway challenge, our team built a swerve drive. That year, we competed in the San Diego regional competition, and in the Galileo Division at the world championship in Atlanta. Unfortunately, we suffered technical difficulties with the swerve drive throughout the competitions. The on-going quest since then has been to redesign and reprogram a better and more reliable swerve drive.
In 2015, after five additional years of off-season work, our team again deployed a swerve-capable robot to compete in the recycling-themed Recycle Rush challenge. The swerve drive functioned excellently throughout the Central Valley and Los Angeles regional competitions, allowing us greater accuracy and maneuverability, and the flexibility to easily and quickly modify our strategy and design creative autonomous programs—even during the morning of the last day of the competition!
A powerful combination of a swerve drive, an independently rotating turret, and 3D printed parts earned our team the Creativity Award at the 2015 Los Angeles regional.
For the 2016 season, due to the nature of the challenge, our team has chosen to use a standard tank drive instead of a swerve drive.