Indoor mobile robots are becoming reliable enough in navigation tasks to consider working with teams of robots. Using SRI International's open-agent architecture (OAA) and SAPHIRA robot-control system, we configured three physical robots and a set of software agents on the internet to plan and act in coordination. Users communicate with the robots using a variety of multimodal input: pen, voice, and keyboard. The robust capabilities of the OAA and SAPHIRA enabled us to design and implement a winning team in the six weeks before the Fifth Annual AAAI Mobile Robot Competition and Exhibition.
The Second Annual Robotics Competition and Exhibition was held in July 1993 in conjunction with the National Conference on Artificial Intelligence. This article reports some of my experiences in helping to design and run the contest and some reflections, drawn from post mortem abstracts written by the competitors, on the relation of the contest to current research efforts in mobile robotics.
The University of Michigan's CARMEL and SRI International's FLAKEY were the first- and second-place finishers, respectively, at the 1992 Robot Competition sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. The two teams used vastly different approaches in the design of their robots. Many of these differences were for technical reasons, although time constraints, financial resources, and long-term research objectives also played a part. This article gives a technical comparison of CARMEL and FLAKEY, focusing on design issues that were not directly reflected in the scoring criteria.