Future of FRC Drivetrains?

From what I’ve seen, teams over the years have evolved their drivetrains from differential drive, to Mecanum, and now they’ve moved on to Swerve (I’m aware there were numerous less common ones along the way). Now I am wondering, is Mk4i Differential Swerve and similar products the limit for FRC drivetrain technology, or is there some theoretical drivetrain that is even better than Swerve?

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I think maybe ball drive is better than swerve, but currently limited by motor(ball motor is still not ripe)

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The ball drive exists already??

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Does. FRC45 did it only about 20 years ago.

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It does exists for quite a long time, but the original way of the ball drive is by friction, in this way the swerve is much better.

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Ball drive explanation (I didn’t know til I looked it up 2 mins ago so just posting this here)

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Swalk

The Ultimate FRC drive train - Technical Discussion - Chief Delphi

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Compliant Wheel West Coast Drive

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Realistically it’s not about the drivetrain per se but how it fits the field. You could make some gains in weight and power draw of the the module. However, most drivetrains will be traction limited So I think a large improvement could be found in down force that team 95 was messing with (yes, I know it was ruled illegal but still). Or any method of putting that traction down on the field.

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I wonder if ball drives will get better with this in them.

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I’m not particularly sure how teams evolved from differential drive to mecanum. Teams pretty much went tank drive for the majority of FRC, even to 2022 because it drove pretty well, and was easy enough that most teams could whip them out in 3 days. Swerve was an “off” option that was pretty good for a while if executed properly, but teams didn’t do it because it was too much of a resource investment during the season that could be spent doing more productive things.

With 20 motor slots, brushless motors, and COTS swerve + cots rules, the reason why swerve is run so prevalently is not that it’s better (though it is basically better), but because it is very very accessible, practically bulletproof, and works without much design or mfg thought, and once swerve gets figured out in an offseason, it’s not too much of a programming investment during the season (and as base swerve code becomes more developed, swerve becomes even more plug and play).

If there’s a new drivetrain style that’s more accessible than swerve, provides the same mobility and traction benefits, and has something that outcompetes swerve, then that drive would become more popular. But I think swerve is here and it’s here to stay.

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I could see a future articulated swerve being successful.

COTS swerve with bombproof suspension that could handle 2016? The COTS swerve arms race will continue; what’s next?

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I would think that COTS swerve options will trend towards being easier to set up and accessible to more teams.

Running parallel to that we may see some teams turning to west coast drives and with that hopefully more gearbox options.

What I’d really like to see is at least one game that will take the steam out of swervemania for a bit. They’re crazy expensive and it feels like an arms race at the moment. Another 2016 game would take care of that for a bit.

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If your goal is to lower the ceiling and not raise the floor, that is not a program I want to take part in.

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Whoa, you guys moved on to swerve? Since when? I thought you guys were still doing 6wd this year.

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Not my goal, but vendors gonna vend and the trend seems to be towards more accessibility. I mean, look at Rev’s new ION line, they even put out a guidebook aimed at novices.

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Sorry for the confusion. I meant ‘we’ as in FRC, not ‘we’ as in SLICE

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differential swerve maybe?

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SDS MK4i Swecanum featuring Spot

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