As we near the beginning of the next season, I thought it might be good to review the year by going over what people think were the 3 most trends-setting features of 2017, and whether they are good or bad. This could be anything robot related that a team(s) did in the past year.
I thought this could be a great way to find out about some things other teams did while also starting some conversation about the future of robots in FRC.
I’ll start with my 3 choices:
(1) 3D Printed Parts - 125
They definitely aren’t the first to use them on a robot, but I would say they really opened up the possibilities of what can be done with printed parts mechanically, as well as how they can be utilized for prototyping. They definitely were the most competitive robot using advanced 3D printed parts that I’ve seen to date. I’m excited to see how much 3D printing is utilized and impacts designs in the coming years.
(2) Multi-wheel and Posi-Traction Swerve Drive - 2767
They spent years iterating a great swerve drive design, and included advanced features like the posi-traction system they used. I think this could be both a positive and negative trend, as it could raise the bar for what performance competitive teams get out their drive train, while it could also convince more teams to do swerve too quickly due to their relatively simple design that should probably spend more development time on it. I’m also curious to see more how much the posi-traction system truly makes a difference. I don’t think there’s a doubt that it does improve drive accuracy to some degree, but I wonder by how much and if it’s worth implementing. More years and more teams doing it will shed more light on this.
(3) Mecanum Drive - 1986
Obviously mecanum drives have not only been around for a long time, but have been pretty popular overall for a while now. I don’t think the success 1986 had with them will necessarily make them used even more often then they have been, but I think it will mean more teams will continue to use them who might have otherwise switched to a more standard WCD, etc. There are many out there including myself who aren’t huge fans of mecanum, so I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of this “trend”. Many people won’t think through the specific reasons 1986 used and had success with a mecanum drive last season.
I’m curious to hear what others think are the biggest current trends in FRC, and why they are good or bad for the sport.