AAAI Publications, Thirty-First AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Dude, Where's My Robot?: A Localization Challenge for Undergraduate Robotics
Paul Ruvolo

Last modified: 2017-02-12


I present a robotics localization challenge based on the inexpensive Neato XV robotic vacuum cleaner platform. The challenge teaches skills such as computational modeling, probabilistic inference, efficiency vs. accuracy tradeoffs, debugging, parameter tuning, and benchmarking of algorithmic performance. Rather than allowing students to pursue any localization algorithm of their choosing, here, I propose a challenge structured around the particle filter family of algorithms. This additional scaffolding allows students at all levels to successfully implement one approach to the challenge, while providing enough flexibility and richness to enable students to pursue their own creative ideas. Additionally, I provide infrastructure for automatic evaluation of systems through the collection of ground truth robot location data via ceiling-mounted location tags that are automatically scanned using an upward facing camera attached to the robot. The robot and supporting hardware can be purchased for under $400 dollars, and the challenge can even be run without any robots at all using a set of recorded sensor traces.


Bayesian inference; approximation algorithms; robotics assignments

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