Holonomic vs Non-Holonomic Drives


I just wanted to ask whether you all think that a holonomic drive is important this year. I can see the advantages and disadvantages of both, but I just wanted to see what the rest of the forum thinks. Are the extra motors or decreased speed really worth it for the ability to strafe(because if you have an H-drive or X-drive, part of the motor power is lost in the ability to strafe)?

Our team has a 6 motor high speed drive this year, and it has been very effective.
The speed and power of the 6 motor drive are better, in my opinion, than being able to strafe.

I would say that it just depends on your robot design and strategy. If you have a wall bot then the strafing ability is definitely necessary, while a push bot needs the pushing power of a normal tank drive. If you can see your robot being just as capable with a tank drive as it would be with holonomic, then I would say to go with tank, but if a holonomic drive would make you more efficient, then it might be the best choice.

What if you could have both, while still having 6 motors worth of power going forwards/sideways?

A X-drive actually makes you go faster by a power of about 1.41. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but it has been empirically proven.

What would your recommendation be for a 5-6 star standoff intake dumper? For a 3 star standoff intake catapult?

All it is is a fancy gear ratio. Do not be fooled that you gain torque. (just in case :p)

@Mr_L_on_Yoshi I know :stuck_out_tongue: you lose torque by the same factor unfortunately. (making my highspeed 4-inch X-drive terrible at pushing under the wall)

“Weeeeee… oof!”
-Our bot

I can vouch for this! 3211H has been destroyed competitions in MN. However, with the last competition, I saw very little pushing back and forth, it was mostly claws and side rollers going back and forth. My X-drive has been very effective getting around the field (especially around less than average drivers on alliances)

One of our teams is using a 6 motor holonomic

Holonomics have a natural 1:1.4 ratio. But like with any other ratio, comes power loss. I haven’t seen the robot drive in person recently, but I believe it isn’t much faster than 6 motor turbo on 3.25". I could be wrong.

And with strafing, ignoring the fact if it is worth it or not, you can basically strafe with a non holonomic drive. If you drive in S curves, and you do it well enough, you can basically strafe.

I was using a holonomic, then I did the math for how much my gussets weighed total. 24 gussets is 3.2 lbs. Meaning in the end, it would be around the same speed as a tank drive with the same motor/wheel configuration.

One potential advantage of an X drive might be lining up for hanging. Depending on how your robot is made, you could just slam into the corner and the robot will force itself into alignment. That might make the difference between high hanging quickly and low hanging slowly.

@blatwell That’s actually exactly why we started with the holonomic drive, and I’m loving the defense you can play with the strafeing

Yes, strafing helps with defense. But look what I said above about “strafing” with tank drives.

Then again, if you are good enough with a tank drive, you could maybe do it just as fast.

It doesn’t really matter. It is all about how you drive. For example, there was a point brought up that an x-drive would help for hanging alignment. However, my B-team was at a competition had the fastest hanging mechanism and they were using a tank drive. Back to how you drive like it was previously mentioned if you drive in an S curve, you are essentially strafing. So, the skill of your driver should be a factor in whether you use a holonomic drive or not.

100% agree here

I also agree. Usually, there is no reason for a competent driver to use strafing drives. It wastes motors, or wastes power on friction, or wastes space on chassis, or wastes power on COG problems, or… yeah.
Still doing one though. But I have my reasons >:D

I think what they meant is by having an x drive you can get closer to the pole given that you have 45 degree angles on both of your holonomic wheels. The speed of the hang wouldn’t be dictated by what base you have.


  1. Many teams factor in alignment time in hanging
  2. You could transfer motor power from the base to your hanging mech. This gets significantly harder with a strafing drive.

and S is not an exact strafe though. When I have my claw open right against the wall to defend, I can simply go back and forth. A tank drive will either have to back away from the fence or rotate the claw a complete 90 degrees from the fence, making it no longer able to be an effective blocker.