The Caltech Multi-Vehicle Wireless Testbed (MVWT) is a testbed for networked control, computing and communications systems. It consists of up to 12 mobile vehicles with embedded computing and communications capability for use in testing new approaches for command and control across dynamic networks. The system allows testing of a variety of communications-related technologies, including distributed command and control algorithms, dynamically reconfigurable network topologies, source coding for real-time transmission of data in lossy environments, and multi-network communications. A unique feature of the testbed is the use of vehicles that have second order dynamics, requiring real-time feedback algorithms to stabilize the system while performing cooperative tasks.
The MVWT is part of the the Caltech Vehicles Laboratory and consists of individual vehicles with PC-based computation and controls, and multiple communications devices (802.11 wireless ethernet, and Bluetooth). Several different types of vehicles have been developed, including wheeled mobile robots, a thrust vectored vehicle on castors and a hovercraft. The laboratory contains access points for the 802.11, overhead visual sensing (to allow emulation of GPS signal processing), a centralized computer for emulating certain distributed computations, and network gateways to control and manipulate communications traffic.
We have written several papers that describ the MVWT and provide additional information on how it is configured:
In addition, several papers have been written using the MVWT to collect data and test out new approaches to communications, computing and control:
Here are some pictures of the testbed and the different vehicles. Click on the thumbnails to get a larger version.