Milestone 1 Reached!

We cleanly passed our first major milestone this morning, with one of the Alpha PR2 robots (Gandalf) autonomously traversing π kilometers two days in a row. Gandalf had been doing a π-kilometer run each day for the past two weeks, but we wouldn't declare the milestone complete until we had two consecutive clean runs. In the process, we improved the navigation software to better avoid low obstacles (scooters are popular here, and weren't seen by the first version of the software), to more safely move into uncharted territory when stuck, and of course by fixing a few bugs.

This milestone is very important: It demonstrates the hardware of the PR2 (except arms), from casters to head, from power system to sensors. It demonstrates the software on the robot from the device drivers to the executive, from the controllers to the planners. It leverages the software infrastructure of ROS, the Open Source software development and testing infrastructure, and a very nice suite of tools that enable the work. Last but not least, it leverages the work of the Open Source robotics community.

We will continue testing the hardware and software, and extending its range of navigation and of things it can do. Our next milesone will require the robot to use its arms, and when we achieve it we will be confident that we have a robust platform to share with the Open Source robotics community - we stand on the shoulders of giants.

We wish you a Wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy and Productive New Year.