SERVO 01.2016 25
Six or More
Six-wheel drive systems are much
like four-wheel drive systems, though
they tend to be used in a layout that
has a relatively long wheel base
relative to the track width. This results
in a system that has high scrub, good
tracking, and high stability.
One common tweak to the basic
six-wheel drive system is to have the
middle wheels lowered slightly. This
results in a robot that rocks under
acceleration, but greatly improves
turning by reducing the effective
wheel base relative to the track width.
Machines using this configuration
are typically using the six-wheel drive
configuration primarily to either
provide more consistent traction on
inconsistent surfaces or to provide
additional redundant contact points
with the ground to improve the
chances of both sides of the drive
system staying functional after
Tracked drive systems continue
the trend of increased scrub, tracking,
Scrub is at its maximum, tracking
is very good, and stability is at its
When considering the wheel base
of a tracked system, it can be
measured from the front most contact
point to the rear most contact point
when the system is operating
Variants to the basic tracked
system include the addition of a
suspension system to deal with rough
terrain and the use of a dropped roller
similar to the 6+ wheel drive systems.
With many events having flat
floors, tracks are fairly uncommon as
many of the biggest benefits to a long
contact patch don’t come into play on
Shuffle drive systems occupy an
unusual space in the drive system’s
realm. When they were first
introduced to the robot combat
world, they were considered a form of
walking mechanism, and most events
gave a 100% weight bonus for
walkers. This was quickly and brutally
exploited, and resulted in the
redefinition of a walking mechanism
in most events rules. Now, there is a
classification for novel non-walking
drive systems in the rules that covers
shuffle drive systems.
For some events, this doesn’t
result in any weight bonus. For other
events, robots that have drive systems
that fit within the novel non-wheeled
classification will receive a 50%
weight bonus. This weight bonus
Segs uses an eight-wheel
segmented drive system.
Photo provided by Brandon Davis.
Chuck Pitzer’s Tripulta
Raptor shows off its high
traction tracked drive.
Fission Product uses a four
cam shuffler drive system.
Photo provided by Charles Guan.