Just one of a series of experiments
on ways of moving many little vehicles around
on a table at once.
Here I'm trying to
get all the propulsive power
to come from the table,
but the control to come from each vehicle.
In other words, the table is strong but stupid;
whereas each vehicle is weak but smart.
This solves the power-distribution problem.
As you can see in the simulation, the table surface is covered with many counter-rotating disks, which always move in the same fixed pattern. Little "grabbers" on top of the table (shown in various colors) can alternately grip and release their hold on the tabletop (electromagnetically, for example). When a vehicle contains three such grabbers, they can be used together to propel the vehicle along the surface: each grabber grips and releases selectively to get the vehicle where it needs to go.
In the simulation, each of the four colored "vehicles" is programmed to get to a different corner of the table.