2004 Rescue Robot League Competitions
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New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
The NIST Orange Arena traveled to the University of New
Orleans to serve as the competitive environment for this years
Figure 1: 2004 RoboCup U.S. Open Rescue Robot League Orange Arena
The 2004 RoboCup U.S. Open Rescue Robot League brought together five teams from four countries who developed diverse robots with very unique characteristics. Prior to the competition, each team submitted a team description paper (in .pdf format) that discussed their systems expected capabilities (Figure 2).
Figure 2: 2004 RoboCup US Open Rescue Robot League Competitors
This years RoboCupRescue competition marked the
introduction of a new square competition configuration for the Real
Robot League. Not only were Portuguese versions of the NIST Arenas
constructed, but a separate operator station (that also contained
the robot tracking and wireless networking stations), a large team
setup area, and administration area were built (Figures 3a-3e).
This years team qualification process included over forty team description papers and regional open competitions in the USA and Japan. The league chairs and technical committee selected twenty teams from eight countries to compete, almost doubling last years participation. Overall, the league demonstrated a notable variety of robotic technologies for searching complex environments, finding simulated victims, and localizing and mapping their locations. The overall quality of the implementations was clearly improved from last years teams. Particularly innovative approaches provided break-through improvements in several key elements and will certainly be emulated in future implementations. All teams document their approaches completely in team description papers.
1st Place: The Toin Pelicans team, from the University
of Toin, Japan, were mainly recognized for their very capable, multi-tracked
mobility platform with independent front and rear flippers. Their
innovative camera perspective mounted above and behind the robot
so as to contain the entire robot and surrounding area within the
field of view provided superior remote situational awareness
for the operator, and allowed precise configuration management of
the robots tracks to facilitate mobility over large obstacles
and within confined spaces. Other teams used similar overview cameras,
some on flexible rods, also to good effect.
The leagues goals were clearly achieved this year
by evaluating state-of-the-art technologies, methods, and algorithms
applied to search and rescue robots through objective testing in relevant
environments, statistically significant repetitions, and comprehensive
data collection. Although several teams demonstrated clear advances
in certain key capabilities, more collaboration between teams (and
between countries) is needed to produce ultimately effective systems
for deployment. When viewed as a stepping-stone between the laboratory
and the real world, this competition provided an important opportunity
to foster such collaborative efforts and further raised expectations
for next years implementations.
San Jose California, USA
The AAAI 2004 Conference continued to use the NIST transportable arenas to host the fifth annual Rescue Robot League Competition in San Jose, California, USA (Figures 5a-5e).
This years seven competing teams developed unique systems with very diverse characteristics. Three Place Awards and an Innovation Award were presented at this years competition. The awardees are shown in Figure 6. The Place Awards were based solely on the teams performances during the competition missions. The Innovation Award was given to the team exhibiting a particularly novel implementation or technical advancement.
1st Place: The Swarthmore College team, from
Swarthmore, PA, deployed two robots controlled by a single operator
to explore the arenas. Their human-robot interface allowed the operator
to adjust the level of autonomy of each robot to effectively manage
concurrent exploration of the yellow and orange arenas. Once they
found a victim, their mapping system enabled the operator to record
the necessary victim data in an on-line form, include images of the
victims situation and surrounding environment, and effectively
note the location on the map. They used this system to locate and
map victims more quickly than the other teams, and so scored very
well in each of their missions.
3rd Place: The Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)
team, from Palo Alto, CA, competed with custom built robotic systems
predominantly developed by high school students associated with their
Institute for Educational Advancement. This team implemented two different
modular serpentine designs, each teleoperated via tether, and an innovative
localization approach. Equipped with cameras and microphones, these
were the only robots to explore the extremely confined spaces within
the rubble-strewn red arena. The system also included a tank-like
robot that deployed sensor motes for map creation.
If you would like additional information on these past Rescue Robot Competitions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org