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The RoboCup Rescue Competition

The goal of the competition is to increase awareness of the challenges involved in search and rescue applications, provide objective evaluation of robotic implementations in representative environments, and promote collaboration between researchers. It requires robots to demonstrate their capabilities in mobility, sensory perception, planning, mapping, and practical operator interfaces, while searching for simulated victims in unstructured environments.

As robot teams begin demonstrating repeated successes against the obstacles posed in the arenas, the level of difficulty will be increased accordingly so that the arenas provide a stepping-stone from the laboratory to the real world. Meanwhile, the yearly competitions will provide direct comparison of robotic approaches, objective performance evaluation, and a public proving ground for field-able robotic systems that will ultimately be used to save lives.

Yellow arena maze with non-flat flooring consists of A) maze walls, B) intermittent pitch/roll ramps and open face/top box stacks containing simulated victims, and C) continuous pitch and roll ramps (in final rounds).

Orange arena maze with more complex non-flat flooring contains A) continuous pitch/roll ramps, B, C) half-cubic stepfields and box stacks with simulated victims that require directed perception and variable illumination to see inside.

Red arena maze includes A,B) full-cubic (red) stepfield “hills,” “flats” and “diagonals,” along with C) elevated floor sections accessible via stairs or a steep ramp, with stalactites hanging underneath to form confined spaces.

Other Red arena elements include A) stairs with 40 degree incline and 20cm step heights, a 35-45 degree ramp with carpet to access the elevated floors (not shown), B) 20cm step/pipe combinations to minimize corner traction divide elevated floor sections, and C) confined spaces under elevated floors (also used with ramp flooring).

Box stacks with 1-3 levels contain simulated victims. A) Open boxes contain “void” victims that are viewable from face and top. B) Boxes with holes contain more difficult “entombed” victims that are also viewable from the face and top. C) All boxes contain eye charts (tumbling E’s) directly in line with the holes and hazardous materials labels off to the side which can be identified and scored in place of human form points along with the other victim signs of life.

”Void” victims found within the Yellow arena for autonomous robot identification and some harder to reach Red arena locations. A) Shown with flat flooring, and B) with pitch/roll ramps in finals. C) Eye chart, hazmat label, and all victim signs of life can be identified and scored.

“Entombed” victims found within the Orange arena and easier sections of the Red arena require more dexterous placement of cameras and sensors to look into holes. A) Shown among pitch/roll ramps. B) Shown among half-cubic (orange) stepfields. C) Looking through the hole to identify the eye chart, hazmat label, and all victim signs of life. Note that variable illumination near the camera is very helpful and an absolute requirement for response robot applications.