Robot Milestones

We've defined a set of milestones to guide us to our goal of making ten PR2 robots, complete with ROS (a suite of open-source software for mobile manipulation), available to universities. The milestones test the basic capabilities of the platform. To reach Milestone 1, the robot must navigate autonomously for π kilometers, for two days in a row. The milestone tests a range of capabilities, including basic mechanical robustness, electrical system and software from controllers up through the 2D navigation stack. Milestone 2 adds arms to the mix, and requires the robot to find power outlets, plug itself in when needed, and open doors along the way. For the second milestone, the robot will increase its time and distance to two full days and at least a marathon (42.195 km). Milestone 3 will have users from outside Willow Garage program the robots. This will test our documentation, and will ensure that when we do ship 10 that other users will be able to make progress with them.

Today we hit an important pre-milestone: one of our three alpha PR2's went 4.5 km with only slight intervention. The previous record had been 1.5 km continuous autonomous operation. Tomorrow the official test will begin. Passing the milestone will require 2 days, because our goal is to show a high level of robustness.


Robustness standards

We need more benchmarks like these. With so much research around and so many publications, one gets a feeling that atleast some of it comes out of the labs prematurely. Good to see you setting such "robust" milestones. - Pratap