Robots with AI: A Retrospective on the AAAI Robot Competitions and Exhibitions

Pete Bonasso, Tom Dean

There have been five years of robot competitions and exhibitions since the inception of this annual event in 1992. Since that first show we have seen 30 different teams compete and almost that many more exhibit their robots. These teams ranged from universities to industry and government research labs to one or two inventors working out of garages. Their composition ranged from seasoned AI researchers to eager undergraduates, and they hailed from the United States, Canada, Europe and the Far East. Despite the concerns of some about the relevance and even the appropriateness of such an event, the robots have become a key attraction of the national and international conferences. In this talk, we look back on the form and function of the five years of exhibitions and competitions and attempt to draw some lessons in retrospect as well as future implications for the AI community and our society at large.

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