it is presented a test bed applied to studies on dynamics, control, and navigation of mobile robots. a cargo ship scale model was chosen, which can be radio-controlled or operated autonomously through an embedded control system. a control program, which manages on board mission execution, is implemented on a microcontroller. navigation is based on an electronic compass, which includes automatic compensation for pitch and roll motions. heading control loop is based on this sensor, and on a rudder positioning system. a propulsion control system is also implemented. typical manoeuvres as the turning test and "zig-zag", were implemented and tested. they are included on a manoeuvre library, and can be accessed independently or in combined modes. the embedded system is also in charge of signal acquisition and storing during the missions. it is possible to analyse experiments on identification of ship dynamics, control, and navigation, through the data transferred to a pc by serial communication. navigation is going to be improved by including inertial sensors on board, and a dgps. preliminary tests are aimed to ship identification, and manoeuvrability, using free model tests. future steps include extending this system for developing other mobile robots as, rovs, auvs, and aerial vehicles.