Using Robot Competitions to Promote Intellectual Development

Robin R. Murphy


This article discusses five years of experience using three international mobile robot competitions as the foundation for educational projects in undergraduate and graduate computer science courses. The three competitions -- (1) AAAI Mobile Robot, (2) AUVS Unmanned Ground Robotics, and (3) IJCAI RoboCup -- were used in different years for an introductory undergraduate robotics course, an advanced graduate robotics course, and an undergraduate practicum course. Based on these experiences, a strategy is presented for incorporating competitions into courses in such a way as to foster intellectual maturation as well as learn lessons in organizing courses and fielding teams. The article also provides a classification of the major robot competitions and discusses the relative merits of each for educational projects, including the expected course level of computer science students, equipment needed, and costs.

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