Wheels are by far an easier and less expensive option than tracks.

Wheeled robots have a lot of advantages:

  • More efficient.
  • Simpler design.
  • Lower cost than tracks.
  • In most cases offers has less resistance to turning.
  • Some designs allow for a vectoring robot that can move in any direction.

Some of the disadvantages of wheels:

  • High centering when going over uneven terrain.
  • Less traction on rough and loose terrain.
  • Can't climb stairs without making radical suspensions.

Wheel Types

Standard Wheels:

Good for use both indoors and outdoors, these are rubber pneumatic wheels. We offer wheels with low profile tread that are better for smooth surfaces and traction lug tires with a more aggressive tread for rougher terrain.

Omni Wheels:

Omni Wheels have rollers around the edge of the wheel that spin perpendicular to the axis of the wheel. They are a great option for robots that require high payloads since they significantly lower the friction when turning. They also open up the possibility of a vectoring robot by using 3 wheels at a 120 degree angle from each other, or 4 wheels at a 90 degree angle from each other. By individually controlling the motors' speed and direction, you can make the robot move in any direction. Omni wheels are really only meant for flat smooth surfaces though. The robot will side slip sideways on a hill and dust/dirt can impede the movement of the rollers. They are also quite noisy.

Mecanum Wheels:

Mecanum wheels are similar to omni wheels, except the roller spins on an axis at a 45 degree angle from the wheel axis. These wheels have the same downside as omni wheels in that they cannot handle hills and a dirty environments well and they make a fair amount of noise.

<sdr cagetory id=156>Omni and Mecanum Wheels</sdr item>

We also offer ready-made wheeled platforms:

And omni-wheel robot platforms:

To learn more about wheeled robots see our All Terrain Robots and Vectoring Robots support pages.