Steam Deck Driver Station

Let me propose this, a Steam Deck as a Driver Station. It has a built in screen that the driver could look at easily and also have a controller built it. You could easily add a USB dock and allow for other controllers and peripherals if wanted.

The biggest limitation I can think of would be the performance of the chipset inside.

Anyone have any thoughts of why this wouldn’t work or why this would be a bad idea?


First question: Ethernet port?

I’m not sure the screen is “easy” to look at while driving. That would be something to experiment with.

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The biggest problem is that Windows on steam Deck is uh, not fantastic. You need to run Windows to run the official driver station. As a demo/outreach DS it would be fantastic (since alternative driver stations for Linux do exist, just aren’t comp legal), but good luck getting it ready for a competition.


Screen size? it’s hard for drivers to see the onboard cameras if its on a tiny screen like that…

also I have no clue how an FTA might help you with connection issues if its 1. a foreign device, especially one they’ve never dealt with as a drive station and 2. you’d have to hand the whole thing over if they wanted to troubleshoot

edit: this sounds way to harsh… bottom line if you wanna go for it go for it, I’d love to see it in action

You can get a USB dock with Ethernet right?

You could hold it up to closer to your eye level making it easier than traditional laptops.

I’ve heard of the mixed reviews of the performance, but the Driver Station app isn’t the most performance intensive right? I would feel like it would be able to handle it, but that is something I can test out.

It’s more so the drivers are finicky from my understanding, and screwy drivers are not something you want to mess with on the field

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While the above posts outline various concerns about using it at a competition, I would be really interested in seeing how well it works for demos.

Being able to bring a single smaller handheld device instead of laptop+controller(s)+somwhere-to-put-everything would be really nice. The small screen would be plenty for having kids be able to get a “first-person” view of what the robot “sees”, and you could use a third-party driver station assuming they work on the deck.

[Removed over my confusion of “Stream Deck” vs “Steam Deck” :joy: ]

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Important point:

It doesn’t matter what you use, provided that the following three criteria are met:

  1. Ethernet port. FMS MUST connect through Ethernet. I don’t know if a USB-Ethernet connection will work for sure; if it doesn’t you’re not going to function.
  2. Wired. Wireless communication within the driver station is verboten.
  3. Windows. Driver station doesn’t run on anything else.

IMO, using the dock adds a potential failure point to the field connection (which is critical^2). It could work.

As far as raising up the controller to see the screen: I would talk with an ergonomics person first. It could work. It could cause other issues. (i.e., making things disappear for whoever is operating the robot, or wearing out arms).

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This is a different product, check out this link.

Guh. Not the first time I’ve made this confusion somewhere, lol. Probably bad naming on both Stream Deck and Steam Deck’s fault…


This is an interesting thought. Especially if you looked at it as a piece of your driver station.

You could have an external screen and another control interface for the second driver.

This has me thinking, I wonder if you could tether it to a small laptop. That way, you do not need Windows either.

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This just made me think of designing a driver station system something like the Wii U tablet thing.

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After our main driver station laptop was ahem crushed by a robot, we made the mistake of using a laptop with USB-C ports with ethernet dongles instead of one with a full ethernet port… don’t do it… we were dead on the field for 3 out of the 4 matches we used it… lets say we invested in a new laptop before our next event…

As I was writing it, I was thinking that, and then, I started also wondering if the switch could be tethered.

I will say this is actually kinda funny, as in one our matches the reverse happened. Our built in Ethernet port just stopped working and the FTA or CSA just came over and gave us a USB Ethernet dongle and that worked, so I guess its do so at your own risk.

The USB Ethernet adapter we were using on our FTC Scoring system this weekend was the cause of most of our problems at the event, lol

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Is there a reason that these adapters seem to be so hit or miss? Are there just some really cheap and bad quality ones out there that give all of the adapters a bad rep?

I doubt there is an intrinsic reason an ethernet adapter would be unreliable.
It’s likely a result of people buying cheap junk from Amazon. It’s difficult to find genuinely good adapters & such when people end up buying from the lowest bidder anyways,

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