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Ten Years of the AAAI Mobile Robot Competition and Exhibition

AI Magazine

Summer 2001 marked the tenth AAAI Mobile Robot Competition and Exhibition. A decade of contests and exhibitions have inspired innovation and research in AI robotics. Here we look back at the origins of the contest and how it evolved. We also reflect on how the contest has served as an arena for important debates in the AI and robotics communities. The article closes with a speculative look forward to the next decade of AAAI robot competitions.


Ten Years of the AAAI Mobile Robot Competition and Exhibition

AI Magazine

Summer 2001 marked the tenth AAAI Mobile Robot Competition and Exhibition. A decade of contests and exhibitions have inspired innovation and research in AI robotics. Here we look back at the origins of the contest and how it evolved. We also reflect on how the contest has served as an arena for important debates in the AI and robotics communities. The article closes with a speculative look forward to the next decade of AAAI robot competitions.


Finding the " Right " Robot Competition: Targeting Non-Engineering Undergraduates

AAAI Conferences

Robot competitions run the gamut from research-oriented challenges to K-12 contests aimed at basic problem-solving skills. For faculty and students at small colleges, with limited resources, finding the right level of competition can be a difficult proposition. At Macalester College we have hosted a series of robot competitions, inviting nearby colleges to participate. Our goals are to engage students with robots and artificial intelligence, to raise the profile of AI on campus, and to create ties among the different colleges. The contests succeeded in forging ties among the faculty who participated, and succeeded as extracurricular activities to interest students in computer science. The contests failed, however, to teach students much about AI and robotics techniques, and to engage students closely with sponsoring faculty members. I propose a model of local-area competitions that focus on AI and robotics concepts, rather than physical robot design, and that are respectful of the limited time and resources faculty and students have to contribute.


Preface

AAAI Conferences

Many undergraduate educators have embraced autonomous robots over the past decade. In tandem, the number and popularity of robot-themed exhibitions and competitions has surged. These venues spark interest in AI, motivate class or research projects, and invite students into communities that extend beyond the walls of their particular institution. Yet obstacles to participation can be substantial: they include robots' time-and-money costs, curricular constraints, and the competitiveness underlying some robotic venues. This set of symposium papers investigates the undergraduate educational space involving autonomous robots, with an eye toward optimizing robots' and robot venues' effectiveness under the constraints all educators face.


Mini Grand Challenge Contest for Robot Education

AAAI Conferences

The Mini Grand Challenge outdoor robot design contest was developed at the Penn State Abington campus to promote advances in robot education and technology. Partly inspired by the DARPA Grand Challenge, ground robots must navigate unmarked pathways on a suburban college campus and reach waypoint goals. Robots must also interact and entertain spectators during travel along the designated route. The contest facilitates and encourages the use of low-cost robot platforms in order to make the experience highly accessible to students and educators. A successful robot platform for less than $300 was developed by Penn State Abington for participation in the 2005 and 2006 contest offerings.