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Having robot assistants represent us in meetings, shop for us, or do chores, for instance, would be useful. But to do so, robots must be able to face the contingencies of the real world by making the most of their sensing, actuating, processing, and reasoning abilities. To promote research efforts in that direction, the AAAI has been organizing the Mobile Robot Challenge since 1999. This initiative aims to present the robotics community with a new challenge that drives ongoing research and provides an effective public venue for demonstrating significant new work. The task is to make a robot attend the National Conference on AI. The robot is placed at the conference center??s front door and must navigate to the registration desk by following signs and asking for directions. At the registration desk, the robot receives a map of the conference hall, a destination conference room, and a deadline by which to reach it. While going to the conference room, the robot might have to take the elevator, schmooze with important people, or handle additional tasks such as guarding a room for a few minutes. When the robot reaches the conference room, it must give a two-minute presentation about itself. This past August the authors entered their robot, Lolitta Hall, into the competition at AAAI 2000 in Austin, Texas. The robot is a a Pioneer 2 robot with 16 sonars, a pan-tilt-zoom camera, a Pentium MMX 233-MHz onboard computer, and an infrared ring for detecting the charging station. Lolitta??s integrated skills are described and discussed.
Date of Publication: Nov.-Dec. 2000