Mecanum wheels are very useful to increase the maneuverability of a robot. These wheels come with 45º rollers that move independently and allows the robot to move forward, backward, sideways, diagonally or spin in place. But please, don’t make the confusion with omnidirectional wheels. Mecanum wheels are different than omnidirectional wheels, but the result is almost the same. Depending on which wheels rotate in which direction, the robot will change the heading or spin in place.
This kit includes an aluminum chassis with four motors and mecanum wheels. The chassis provides enough space to add sensors like LiDAR or camera for computer vision, as well as a computer like Raspberry Pi or Nvidia Jetson and batteries.
The motors have attached encoders. Having encoders, you can add an IMU sensor and create a map of the room. This makes easier the job to transform this chassis into an autonomous robot able to navigate on smooth surfaces in an apartment, building or factory floor.
Mecanum wheels have some disadvantages compared with the “normal” wheels that we’re using for our cars or shopping carts. These wheels tend to wander side-to-side when the robot is trying to negotiate an inclined floor. Also, mecanum wheels are known for losing traction.
The kit has a reasonable price ($75.99 in the U.S).