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In all of the designs that I have seen for rockie bogie suspensions, each wheel has a separate motor. Can a rover be driven with less motors? Does each wheel need to spin independently?

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Not necessarily. But not having independent motors would cause a lot of traction from rotating the body around the axis when you use differential drive.

The dimensions of the rover matters. Having a long body might not be favourable with only 2 motors at the back. The traction can be compensated by adding weight on the side with the motors.

It is definitely recommended having a separate motor driving each wheel of your robotic system.

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  • $\begingroup$ A rocker-bogie suspension is designed to distribute weight evenly and climb over obstacles. Essentially, if you don't drive every wheel, you lose all the benefits of having a rocker-bogie in the first place. $\endgroup$
    – MindS1
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 19:58
  • $\begingroup$ Also, you could conceivably design a transmission to send torque to a 6 or 8 wheel design using only two motors (one for each side of the robot). But the robot would have trouble steering, and the transmission would be more complex and expensive than just motorizing each wheel anyway. $\endgroup$
    – MindS1
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 20:14

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