How To Make Your FLL Robot Go Straight





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Published on Aug 16, 2011

I made this video in order to share some things our team has discovered over the last couple of seasons to help make our robot 'drive straight' and perform more reliably. During our first two seasons we just kind of lived with our robot not behaving consistently. During the third and fourth seasons, spurred on by our coaches we set off to figure out why our robots were behaving inconsistently and to try and do something about it.

If a robot is unable to reliably drive straight and pivot accurately, then it will make it difficult to complete most mission challenges of the FLL Game. A few years of experience has shown us that there are many factors to consider when trying to make a robot that can drive straight:
The center of gravity of the robot
The weight of the robot (usually heavier robots will slip less)
The type of drive wheels you select, and how close they match each other
Whether your sliders allow your robot wheels to move without slipping on the mat
The power that you are running the motors... etc.

If you see any glaring mistakes in our methods or have recommendations please comment or make a video response.

The funny thing that happened during the making of this video is that I never anticipated that switching wheels would cause the robot to veer right instead of left. My previous experience from other seasons never brought this to light.

Though the move block does a pretty good job of keeping the robot going straight even with unmatched motors, I noticed that when our team was testing the robot our robot still had a tendency to veer in the direction opposite the stronger motor. So it is our experience from last year that if the motors are naturally well matched in speed at a mid-range power level, the robot will not have much trouble going straight. This assumes that there isn't some other thing at play (such as wheels of different size, or sliders that are too "grippy" that are causing the drive wheels to slip a bit.


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