AAAI-98 Mobile Robot Competition
July 26-30, 1998, Madison, Wisconsin
Sponsored by the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).
Co-chairs: Robin R. Murphy
The mission of the 1998 competition is to serve AAAI,
AI-robotics researchers, and the larger AI community
by promoting innovative research through events which
appeal to media and sponsors, while conducting these
events in a format that facilitates comparison of approaches
but at low risk to indivdual or institutional reputations.
The 1998 competition will support two events: one
rewarding innovation in human-robot interaction, and
the other challenging more traditional navigation,
task planning, and mapping activities.
The 1998 competition is envisioned to have
three major differences from previous years.
In order to be eligible for sponsored funding, competing
teams may have to satisfy specific criteria related to
their competitiveness and the feasibility of their approach.
These may include: demonstrating a minimum level of
functionality (as evidenced by a videotape
of the robot doing basic tasks), intrinsic innovation, etc.
We interpret this to mean that teams who start earlier
and are transferring research results to their entry
will get higher priority for funding.
- In order to encourage bold technical innovation,
the 1998 competition will make a series of Technical
Innovation Awards , highlighting entries that have
some noteworthy innovation regardless of how well
the entry performed in the competition. This have
been discussed in prior years, and were a
well-received part of the RoboCup 97 competition.
- Following the 1997 competition organization,
the human-robot interaction event will have an
optional Technical Challenge Round , where the participants
have the opportunity to demonstrate
the ability of their robots to function in less constrained
- Teams who receive travel money must attend and present
at a one-day workshop following the conference, with
the flavor of a AAAI symposium. All other participants
will be strongly encouraged to attend and present.
A research paper will be required one month in advance.
Event 1: Human-Robot Interaction Event (a continuation
of the Hors D. event from AAAI 97)
Essentially this will be the same as last year, which
was very well received by the non-robotics members
of the AI community.
An important difference for 1998 is that each entrant is required
to explicitly and unambiguously demonstrate interaction with
spectators. This can take the form of speech synthesis, or other
media. In general, the more natural and responsive to
spectators, the better.
In keeping with IJCAI panel on The
Next Big Thing, more natural modes of communication
are necessary for society's acceptance of robots. Furthermore,
this helps distinguish the AAAI competition from other
competitions. Note that
communication is not required for the Navigation event,
but as in the past competitions, it will be rewarded.
Event 1: Technical Challenge Round
This event will require the robot(s) to be placed in
three (or more) locations over a 2 day
period in the conference hall and make announcements
or pass out flyers to attendees. The robots will be
expected to function autonomously for a minimum of
30 minutes (batteries should hold up that long!). There
will be only 15 minutes for each team to configure
the robot for new lighting and environmental conditions,
to encourage more robust algorithms.
Event 2: Navigation (a continuation of the Find
Life on Mars event)
The event will involve the scouting of an unknown
environment containing obstacles. The event will involve
(a) preliminary circumnavigation of the
efficient exploration of the
environment, (b) recognition of
objects in specific locations,
(c) returning a map showing the locations of each object
(d) processing of a list
of objects to obtain, (e) acquisition and return of
selected objects. The objects will be indentifiable by color
and/or shape and exhibit various degrees of discriminability.
The simplest types of classification will be based on color while
the most complex will be based on object shape: for example
wrenches versus screwdrivers.
The exploration step (a) will not be scored explicitly,
so long as it is accomplished within a predetermined time limit.
In order to inject a small element of reasoning, it may prove
desirable to pose the specification of the set of
objects to be obtained (d) so that it can be satisfied in various ways.
This might allows systems to infer the best strategy for
accomplishing the task. For example, if the object is to
pick up 4 objects of the same color, different set of
objects might be easier or harder to navigate to.
There will be only two categories , one for robots that emphasise
manipulation and another for those that put more emphasis on "advanced"
sensing. We do not expect to have a distinct category for multi-robot
entries, however entrants will be explicitly rewarded for technical
While the mission and the general framework have been set,
everything else is open for discussion. We would like to
have final scenarios in place by Jan. 1, and then
finalize the categories for Innovation Awards and resolve
any debates over scoring by the middle of May.
To that end, we solict input as to the details of the rules, areas
that should be considered for Technical Innovation
Awards, and general suggestions to help us further the mission
of the competition.
Send your comments to murphy@silverheels.Mines.EDU
last modified by Tucker Balch, 30 Mar 1998