Did FRC invent the swerve drive/ powered caster?

I believe @Andy_Baker patented the Team 45 ball drive mechanism, somewhere around 2003 maybe. If you look at the Mars Sojourner rover, it had independently driven and steered wheels back in 1996.

You would be hard pressed to find anything an FRC team “invented” whole cloth. There’s not much new under the sun, and teams don’t have the R&D budget to go after the really hard problems that no one has solved yet.

Mammoet was building Self Propelled Modular Transporter “swerve” modules in the 80s (they’re hydraulically powered, instead of co-axial gears, but I’m not sure where we draw the line on what is “Swerve”): http://heavytransportindia.blogspot.com/2013/07/30-years-of-spmt-self-propelled-modular.html

There is absolutely no way the FIRST Robotics Competition invented the concept of independently powering steerable wheels. Among other examples, hydraulic vehicles have used steerable, independently powered wheels for a long time.


maybe something new?


Some of the older swerve pictures I have featuring bevel beside from 16.

I forgot what year this was but bevel beside existed a while ago. My money is on 04 because 16 didn’t swerve in 05 and the 06 robot was misplaced before I took this picture in 2014.

This is 2008.

1 Like

The top image appears to be bomb squad’s 2003 drive. They had a three wheel drive, with the rear wheel being independently driven and steered (this is the what’s pictured). Their first year with swerve drive was 2006.

this appears to be 47’s 2000 robot


This was actually in reference to the 4th image, not the 3rd.

The tags suggest this is for the 2001 season. (why didnt i look at them before?)

Is that a vectored intake roller? Source? Video of it in operation?

If I’m not mistaken, those modules have the motors mounted to the rotating part of the module. So yeah, the bevel gear is beside the wheel, but it’s not a coaxial swerve drive so I wouldn’t count it.

Yep, we developed it after seeing this years teams need for vectored intake wheels.

Eccentric Vectored Intake Wheel


It’s still a swerve drive. Just one with limited travel. Structurally it’s not that different than more modern systems.

Nobody said coaxial.

I’m referencing that ^ reply. The design he’s speaking of is coaxial.

He’s speaking about the current design paradigm so it doesn’t make sense to reference non-coaxial designs to refute the claim that “bevel beside” designs weren’t used in FRC until 2015.

Did you actually use this on 5818’s robot?

I know a couple teams in PCH at least that used the eccentric bearing things as part of their intake this year

We did some big F1 intakes. Think quad 24" weed wackers for dual sided intakes.

I do know 148 and 217 had a patent pending (ever granted?) on Nonadrive. It was used on the clone bots they built in 2010:

I know claiming a patent and actually inventing something are two different things, but close enough?

It’s funny how we were climbing that match in 2000 and in 2020 we can’t climb :grimacing:

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.