First team with swerve drive?

I have been wracking my brain trying to think of the first team in FRC with a swerve drive system, can you help me out?

Edit: why not also mecanum, “kiwi”, or other omni-drive setups.

Earliest one I know of was Team 47’s in 2000.

I believe someone had one in 1998 or 1999 but I can’t remember who it was.

First mecanum drive in FRC I believe was in 2005, team 357 (showing my regional bias here…I want to say other teams had them in 2005 as well).

190 also had one that year

I remember the big stir when Chief Delphi lifted up the hood on their robot that year. It was a coaxial drive as I remember. A lot of chain running around the top of the chassis.

Chief Delphi 1998 had a 2-wheel swerve. This was the first swerve drive…
Sometimes referred to as “delphi drive” in the old days.


Great info. Any idea when the first 4-wheel swerve was made?

Is there a shorter name, widely understood within the CD community, for a 4-wheel independent-steering and independent-driven drivetrain, with unlimited rotation of the wheels and sensors, and no gaps in the sensor feedback?

If not, could a longtimer here please invent one? It sure would be useful when discussing control methods.


The Unicorn drive?

I don’t think there is one, so:

How about a “pod” drivetrain, where each wheel is in a pod and each pod is independent of the others?

BTW, don’t just limit it to 4. 16 has done a 3-wheel pod drive for years.

Might not be unlimited rotation, but it sure gets the job done.

Some systems with most of those features have the name “pod” in them. Given the number of hypothetical features listed, though, I’m tempted to dub it a “spherical chicken drive”.

Theory Drive, because you’ll never get a robot like that in practice :rolleyes:

Well, that’s what it is then, christened with JVN gravitas.

This will save me a whole lot of typing.


The closest I know a team came to this task would be 469 in 2007.

4wd independently steered, independently driven (and 3 speed shifters).

However, it was motor in module so was not infinite rotation.

They did nail the control aspect well, which few teams with such drives do.

ChiefDelphi did 4wd swerve for the 1999 game, as well as the 2001 game.

If slip rings were permitted, could this design be modified to be a true Unicorn drive ?


This year, team 1640 had 4 pods, each driven coaxially by its own CIM and each steered by its own Window motor.

That sounds like a true Unicorn drive, no?


Could you provide some context for this name?

It’s unatainable.

Like a unicorn you can never attain it.