Omnidirectional drive robots vs Differential drive robots

Two version of the autonomous mobile robot (AMR) TIAGo Base with omnidrive and differential drive respectively

TIAGO Base: two different drives

An omnidirectional robot is able to drive in any direction due to its omnidirectional wheels, as the omnidrive enables the robot to change direction instantly without having to turn the wheels. Omnidrive robots were created in response to the needs of various fields,  such as industry,  healthcare, and research. The aim was to develop a robotic platform capable of easily performing tasks in environments with static and dynamic obstacles, as well as in narrow spaces. 

Discover PAL Robotics’ autonomous mobile robot (AMR) TIAGo Base.

The main benefit of omnidirectional robots include manoeuvrability, quick installation, and space-saving technology 

An omnidirectional robot can move in any direction, forward/backward but also sideways left/right, and turn on the spot, thanks to its wheels, giving the robot omnidirectional capabilities for movement on the horizontal axis on a drivetrain, as well as forward and backward movement. In addition, omnidirectional robots need less workspace due to their space-saving technology. Omnidirectional robots are highly adaptable as well as being made for quick installation and removal.

Omnidrive vs. differential drive robots

Omnidrive robots have many advantages in terms of mobility, including the capacity to move in confined spaces, crowded situations, and tight places, as well as the ability to turn sideways, turn on the spot, and follow complex trajectories, thanks to their 360º movement.

Besides, these vehicles are capable of easily performing tasks in environments with static and dynamic obstacles and narrow spaces.

A differential drive robot is a mobile robot with movement based on two separately driven wheels which are situated on each side of the robot body, which allows the robot to move back and forth, yet not sideways. This means that reaching every location and orientation in a two-dimensional space requires more manoeuvres and potentially more complex path-planning. 

The choice between omnidrive and differential drive robots depends on each application

On one hand, omnidrive robots appear to be the best option in situations requiring extreme manoeuvrability, thanks to their versatility of 360º movement. The omnidrive system is particularly useful when manoeuvring in tight environments such as transporting long loads sideways through standard-sized doors or narrow aisleways or parking in parallel, whereas a differential drive robot would make more manoeuvres than an omnidirectional drive robot. 

Differential drive robots, on the other hand, are widely used in robotics because their motion is simple to program and easily controlled. Many consumer robots on the market today use differential steering, owing to its simplicity. Besides, differential drive robots make a strong choice when it comes to pushing power. Omnidirectional wheels also require individual, speed-controlled motors for each wheel.

Look out for our upcoming whitepaper on Omnidirectional drive robots vs differential drive robots to learn about the topic in more detail.

PAL Robotics’ TIAGo OMNI Base robot 

TIAGo OMNI Base is PAL Robotics’ recently developed omnidrive robot. TIAGo OMNI Base is complete with omnidirectional drive with 3 DoF mecanum wheels and includes two LIDAR sensors for an unobstructed 360º FOV secure movement. This includes autonomous navigation and obstacle detection. TIAGo OMNI Base is part of the TIAGo robot family, which includes the original Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) with differential drive, TIAGo Base.

Discover how TIAGo Base helps workers at MAPCABLE in their everyday work.

TIAGo OMNI Base users can take full advantage of the manoeuvrability offered by TIAGo OMNI Base’s omnidrive base for path planning. The omnidirectional robot base provides precision positioning even in constrained environments. This is where a robot with omnidirectional movement appears to be the most optimal proposal thanks to its versatility of 360º movement. In summary, TIAGo OMNI Base offers the following advantages:

  • EFFICIENT: Autonomous navigation, detection of obstacles and route planning.
  • HIGHLY MANOEUVRABLE: Four omnidirectional mechanical wheels to navigate in all directions.
  • CUSTOMIZABLE: You can customize it with accessories to fit your needs.
  • HIGH TRACTION: Optimum navigation results in uneven surfaces.

If you would like to learn more about TIAGo OMNI Base, take a look at our website to read more. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team to ask about TIAGo OMNI Base’s abilities to enhance intralogistics or research in your organisation.

If you found this article informative, then you should check out PAL Robotics’ blog on our robots and research!

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