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Common Steering Methods

January 5, 2018
Common Steering Methods

We often get the question, "How do I steer my robot?"  So we figured we'd put together a Tech Tips video talking about the most common ways you can steer your robot.  There are a variety of methods, but the three common ones Kyle and Jason discuss in our video below are Ackerman, Differential and Skid-Steer. 

This method of steering is commonly used in cars.  In an ackermann style setup the front or back wheels pivot from side to side, the angle of the pivoted wheels will determine where the chassis goes. In a setup like this, the motor or motors driving the wheels do not determine the direction the chassis goes in – they only control the speed and whether the chassis is going forward or backward.

This method of steering utilizes two independently driven wheels on a 2-wheeled chassis.  If you were to drive both wheels at the same speed and in the same direction your robot would proceed in a straight line.  However, if the wheels were to be driven at the same speed but in opposite directions, your robot will then rotate about the central point of the axis. If both wheels are driven forward but the left wheel is going faster, the robot will steer to the right and visa versa. A good example of a differential robot kit would be our Zip Runt Rover

This method of steering can be found in tracked vehicles (tanks, skid-steers, bulldozers, etc.).  This style of steering is similar to differential steering in that the wheels on one side of the robot rotate at a different speed and/or direction relative to the other side in order to steer. Skid-steering is basically differential steering when it is applied to tracked vehicles or vehicles which have more than one wheel per side of the robot.  An example of skid-steering would be our Agent390 Robot Kit and most of our Runt Rover kits.


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