microMVP: A Portable, 3D-Printing Enabled Multi-Vehicle Platform for Robotics Research and Education

Introduction | Parts and assembly | Software stack | Download manuscript | V3 Page

microMVP (micro multi-vehicle platform) is an affordable, portable, and open source multi-robot platform I started developing when I was a postdoc at MIT. Because part of my work focuses on optimal multi-robot path planning in environments that densely populated with robots, to try my algorithms on real robots, I need small vehicles so many of them can be placed in a relatively small area. With 3D printing and the availability of cheap components made available by the maker culture, I developed the first version of the vehicle at MIT. After joining Rutgers, with the help of some wonderful people, we completed the first version of the tracking system and software stack. As we believe the microMVP is simple and affordable enough to be reproduced by everyone, and that it could potentially benefit robotics research and education, we decide to release the platform as an open source effort for the world to have fun with.

microMVP contains a set of micro vehicles and a simple camera based tracking system. Each vehicle is about 8cm x 5cm x 6cm in size and weighs just under 100 grams. These vehicles are controlled remotely with a zigBee based wireless link in a centralized manner. However, the system can be used to simulate a fully decentralized system as well. Below are a few videos of the system in action, demonstrating the capability of microMVP. In these videos, the top right window is the UI of the Python demo interface and the lower left window is the video of the vehicle hardware in action as the vehicles are being controlled through the UI.

Path following using pure pursuit

Moving in Formation

Optimal Multi-Robot Path Planning

Distributed Multi-Robot Path Planning w RVO

We actually took the video as a "long take" and here is the entire video with little editing. The video is about 3:50 in length.

Questions are welcome! Just drop a line at rutgers.arc.lab@gmail.com. Let us know if you are using microMVP or are interested in using it!

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