AAAI 2005 Scavenger Hunt Event

Doug Blank
Bryn Mawr College


This year, the scavenger hunt will have two types of entries: an exhibition, and a predetermined challange. In the exhibition, participants will demonstrate their robotics system to show-off abilities in a scavenger hunt environment. For example, a particpant might wish to demonstrate the ability of a robot to follow a trail of colored paper in the conference hall, receive a visual clue, and head to the "X" marking the spot of the treasure. In this category, particpants largely set their own goals and exhibit what their system is capable of. This category is especially friendly to other projects (such as those interested in search and rescus) that can be modified to the scavenger hunt domain, but without having to focus on a particular task which has been predetermined.

In the predetermined challenge, robots will search the conference hotel area for a checklist of given objects such as people or information located at specific locations or at a specific time. This task will require robots to navigate and map a dynamic area with moving objects/people in order to acquire objects to satisfy the checklist.

We welcome a variety of teams to enter with one or more robots and/or human operators, yet every entrant must demonstrate AI techniques during the competition. A key aspect of this event is having the robots interact with people in the environment during timed missions run throughout the course of the conference. More specific rules and guidelines will be posted shortly. We encourage urban search and rescue teams with AI components to consider joining this event.

Details on the Predetermined Challenge

Each contestant will be given a list of items to find. These items will depend on a variety of sensors, including auditory, range finding, and vision. We want to encourage all kinds of entries, therefore contestants need not solve all aspects of the task to compete. Minimum requirements are a mobile robot.

Here are some examples of what items might be included in the hunt:

A small set of objects (no more than 10) will be selected in advance. A few additional objects (no more than 5) may be added at the competition. The objects will be located from floor-level up to desk-level (2.5-3 ft).


The environment will not be engineered for the event, except that the density of people will be relatively low. For instance, crowding around a robot will not be allowed. There will be no penned area as in previous competitions. Furniture and other structures will be natural and may not be marked or altered for the sake of the robots. The objects will be located within a fixed radius from the starting point. The exact radius will be determined at the competition but expect it to be on the order of 25-50 yds.

Robots must clearly report the location of the scavenger hunt items found. This report may be in the form of a natural language utterance, a map of the environment showing the location of items, or if the item can be manipulated, by picking up the object and returning it to the starting point.

Contestants may enter a team of robots and will be more favorably judged if they demonstrate some form of cooperation.

Ideally we would like each hunt to include multiple contestants (the number will depend on the radius of the competition area). This will add to the excitement of the search. However we realize that this may create interference (such as picking up the sonar signals from other robots). Teams should not attempt to purposely disrupt the other competitors.


The robots will be evaluated by a panel of judges. A subjective score between 1 and 10 will be determined by each judge. These scores will be averaged to produce a final score. The contestants will be evaluated on overall success as well as on any particular abilities they incorporate into their solutions, such as:

A overall first and second place will be determined. Additional prizes for innovative aspects of specific solutions may also be awarded.

AAAI Robot Competition Home Page

Last updated 03/01/05