Spring 2011 GRASP Seminar - Edwin Olson, University of Michigan, "Winning the MAGIC 2010 Autonomous Robotics Competition"

Abstract: The MAGIC 2010 competition asked teams of robots to collaboratively perform reconnaissance missions in a 250,000m^2 urban indoor/outdoor environment: explore the area, build a map, and recognize interesting objects--- with as little human intervention as possible. In this talk, I'll describe how our team of 14 robots won the competition and $750,000. Central challenges included inaccurate dead-reckoning information, limited communications, moving and lethal obstacles, and a scale of operation (environment size and number of robots) that pushed existing mapping algorithms to failure. Key to our systems' success was our ability to maintain a consistent coordinate frame and the ability to elicit critically useful information from the human operators while simultaneously minimizing their workload. In addition to showing cases where our system performed well, I'll describe some of the failure modes that motivate our ongoing work.

Presenter's biography

Edwin Olson is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan with research interests in robot autonomy, perception, and learning. In 2010, he led Team Michigan to first place in the MAGIC 2010 robotics competition. He received his PhD, M.Eng., and B.S. from MIT, where he was also a core member of MIT's DARPA Urban Challenge team.