Atlanta, USA / July 7, 2007
The RoboCup @ Space Demo took place during the RoboCup World Championship at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The demo was organized by Ayanna Howard, Pedro Lima and Daniele Nardi to investigate the possibilities of a competition based on a planetory exploration scenario. The scenario is placed in a beach volleyball court with some ditches and hills dug out. The nice background is a poster from the moon, which Ayanna Howard supplied.
The Jacobs University robotics group participated with a demo of autonomous terrain classification. The Space Robotics Lab from Tohoku University showed their planetary rover, which is particularly suited for challenging locomotion on sandy terrain. The rescue robotics team from Koblenz University spontaneously joined the event and demonstrated that even standard wheeled platforms are a possible entry option.
The demo was a first simple test to explore the options of a RoboCup Space competition. It turned out that there is a significant interest in the community in the possibilities this event could offer, especially from RoboCup Rescue teams. The topic is first of all promising from an academic perspective. Many aspects of search and rescue robotics can also be found in research on planetary exploration. Furthermore, it is more challenging and it introduces new application potentials. From an organizational viewpoint, it also allows to introduce and cover challenges that are not yet addressed within RoboCup, especially outdoor performance.