"Excuse Me, Where’s the Registration Desk?": Report on Integrating Systems for the Robot Challenge AAAI 2002

D. Perzanowski, A. Schultz, W. Adams, M. Bugajska, M. Abramson, M. MacMahon, A. Atrash, and M. Coblenz

In July and August 2002, five research groups -- Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University, Swarthmore College, Metrica, Inc., and the Naval Research Laboratory -- collaborated and integrated their various robotic systems and interfaces to attempt The Robot Challenge held at the AAAI 2002 annual conference in Edmonton, Alberta. The goal of this year’s Robot Challenge was to have a robot dropped off at the conference site entrance; negotiate its way at the site, using queries and interactions with humans and visual cues from signs, to the conference registration area; register for the conference; and then give a talk. Issues regarding human/robot interaction and interfaces, navigation, mobility, vision, to name but a few relevant technologies to achieve such a task, were put to the test. In this report we, the team from the Naval Research Laboratory, will focus on our portion of The Robot Challenge. We will discuss some lessons learned from collaborating and integrating our system with our research collaborators, as well as discuss what actually transpired -- what worked and what failed -- during the robot’s interactions with conference attendees in achieving goals. We will also discuss some of the informal findings and observations collected at the conference during the interaction and navigation of the robot to complete its various goals.

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