In order to realize the broad use of robotic systems in hazardous environments, shortcomings in robot interfaces, control system configurability, and overall usability must be addressed. A concerted effort was made to build a foundation of well-engineered communication, perception and autonomous behavior that is robust to changing, unstructured environments and which can be reused across different robot geometries and sensors. During the 2003Robot Rescue competition held in Acapulco as part of American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Fifteenth Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence Conference, the INEEL demonstrated a high level of success in the areas of human-robot interaction, dynamic sensor configuration, and code portability. This paper will focus on lessons learned with respect to human-robot interface usability and robotic control architecture dynamic configuration and portability.
The thirteenth AAAI Mobile Robot Competition and Exhibition was once again collocated with AAAI-2204, in San Jose, California. As in previous years, the robot events drew competitors from both academia and industry to showcase state-ofthe-art mobile robot software and systems in four organized events. The primary purpose of the Mobile Robot Competition and Exhibition is to bring together researchers and students from academe and industry to showcase the latest state-of-the-art mobile robot capabilities. This year saw the return of the Rescue Robot Competition, the Mobile Robot Exhibition, and the Robot Challenge, and the addition of a new event, the Open Interaction Event. For the fifth time, the Rescue Robot Competition was run at AAAI, helping raise awareness of the unique challenges involved in urban search and rescue (USAR) operations.
The Intelligent Systems Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is researching how measure the performance of intelligent systems. One approach being investigated is the use of test courses for evaluating autonomous mobile robots operating in an urban search and rescue scenario. Urban search and rescue (USAR) is an excellent candidate for deploying robots, since it is an extremely hazardous task. USAR refers to rescue activities in collapsed building or man-made structures after a catastrophic event, such as an earthquake or a bombing. Japan has an initiative, based on the RoboCup robots, that focuses on multi-agent approaches to the simulation and management of major urban disasters (Kitano et al. 1999).
Tasks like bomb-detection, search-and-rescue, and reconnaissance in near-Earth environments are time, cost and labor intensive. Aerial robots could assist in such missions and offset the demand in resources and personnel. However, ¤ying in environments rich with obstacles presents many more challenges which have yet to be identi£ed. For example, telephone wire is one obstacle that is known to be hard to detect in mid-¤ight. This paper describes how a blimp can be used in an aerial robot competition to identify other key challenges when ¤ying in these cluttered environments.