From Mon Feb  3 15:16:13 1997
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 1997 09:46:56 -0500 (EST)
From: (Ronald Arkin)
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Complete Rules for Find the Remote Event
Precedence: bulk
Status: RO
Attached below are the complete rules for the find-the-remote event.
Anyone who is interested in competing in this event and has questions 
regarding the rules should contact Ian Horswill (
for clarification.
N.B. These are not the absolute final rules. Competitors will have one
month to bring up issues with the rule committee prior to their
Good luck!
- Ron
AAAI Mobile Robot Competition Event 2: Where's the remote?
This event is inspired by the need for robot assistants to perform
'fetch-it' tasks in partially known environments.  Imagine a robot
assistant helping a handicapped person around the home.  The person might
ask the robot to fetch an orange, the TV remote, a cup of coffee, and
so on.  While the robot may not know where all of these items
are initially, over time it will learn roughly where they are kept.
The event will take place in an arena that contains tables, chairs, and
shelves at varying heights.  Scattered throughout the area, on the
floor, the shelves, and the tables, will be 12 different objects.  The
robot will start the event near a human sitting in a chair (i.e.. judge)
who will ask the robot to fetch three items.  Once these items have been
returned, the human will ask for three more items.  The winner will be
the robot that can find and return the most items in the allotted time.
The environment:
The environment will be divided into a kitchen-like area and a
living-room-like area with a partial divider between them.  The lexan
walls from last year's contest will be used for the perimeter and the
divider.  The living-room area will include a TV and a sofa with
coffee table between them.  The kitchen area will include a sink,
cutting board, and kitchen table.  Certain items, such as the sofa and
sink will necessarily be fake.  Either or both areas may include other
distractor items, such as chairs and trash cans, but the area will be
mostly free space, so as to allow easy mobility.  An example layout
would be:
	|       		   ||   Sink | Cutting board|
	|       		   ||-----------------------|
	|       		   |||  		    |
	|       		   |W|  		    |
	|       		   |A|  		    |
	|       c--||---|          |L|  		    |
	|       o  t| s |          |L|  K----   	    |
	| T     f  a| o |          |||  i   T   	    |
	| V     f  b| f |               t   a   	    |
	|       e  l| a |       	c   b   	t   |
	|       e  e|   |       	h   l   	r c |
	|       |---|---|       	e   e   	a a |
	|               		n ---   	s n |
	|       					h   |
All the furniture listed except the trash can will be possible
supporting surfaces for objects.  These items will be guaranteed to be
large enough to be visible on a low resolution video camera from a
distance.  However, they are not guaranteed to be unoccluded from the
robot's initial position.  Tops of supporting surfaces will be
uniformly colored and will be different from the color of any object
that rests on them.  Pictures will be available in advance.  If
multiple objects are on a supporting surface, they will be well
The objects:
There will be twelve objects in all.  Although their precise locations
will not be known in advance, most objects will be constrained to lie
on one of a few possible pieces of furniture.  Teams are encouraged to
use this context information to intelligently search the area.  The
objects will be:
    Object		Possible locations
    TV remote		TV
    Black with buttons, always facing up.
    Medicine bottle     Coffee table or kitchen table
    Pillow		Sofa
    White, large, irregular shape.
    Video tape		TV or coffee table
    A prerecorded one in a colorful box with distinctive colors
    Coke can		Kitchen table or coffee table
    Will be empty.
    Coffee mug		Anywhere
    Uniformly colored, empty.
    Cereal bowl		Kitchen table or sink
    Rubber chicken	Cutting board
    Fruits and veggies	Sink or cutting board
      green pepper
    Ketchup bottle	Anywhere
Pictures of all twelve objects will be available well before the
competition.  Detailed color images from many different angles will be
supplied for six objects.  All twelve objects will be available to the
teams to inspect, present to their robot, or whatever, when they
arrive at the competition.
Multiple runs:
- During each run of the event, the same objects will be placed on the
  same surface.  Thus, a robot can accumulate information about the
  approximate location of objects from run to run.
- During each run, objects will be requested in a different order.
The robot will be started in a randomly chosen location in the rink.
This location will be its "home" location to which it must return the
objects.  The objects will be randomly placed, but will match the
location constraints given above.
Each team will rank the objects by perceived difficulty for their
system.  A random ordering on the objects will chosen for each team
using an algorithm biased to choose easier objects first.  The robot
will then be given 18 minutes in which to fetch the objects in the
specified order.  Teams will be awarded one point for each fetched
object.  Teams may also opt to take the following penalties:
   - Non-manipulation - 1 minute per non-manipulated object
     The robot need not lift the object, just drive within 1 meter of
     it and designate it somehow (e.g. show a camera image of the
     scene with an X on the object).  The robot must still return home
     to "deliver" it.
   - Virtual manipulation - 30 seconds per virtually manipulated object
     The team declares in advance what type of manipulator they want
     to simulate (e.g. a parallel-jaw gripper, dextrous hand, etc.).
     The robot must drive within 1 meter of the object and designate
     plausible contact points or areas on a video screen.  There must
     be a consensus of the judges that the grasp is plausible.  If not
     the object will be treated as non-manipulated (see above).  The
     robot must still return home to "deliver" it.
   - Defer - 1.5 minutes per deferred object
     A robot may request another object to deliver first but retain the
     right to deliver the deferred object at a later time.