International contest for cleaning robots: Fun event or a first step towards benchmarking service robots
In this paper we report on the First International Contest for Cleaning Robots, which took place jointly with IROS 2002 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The event had two primary objectives. As an educational event with a significant fun factor it was supposed to attract the brainpower and activate the creativeness of students and young researchers for an application of service robotics, which has a significant economic potential. The cost for commercial cleaning services is estimated at around US$ 50 billion per year only in Europe. A fair contest, of course, required that all contestants had equal race conditions. This in turn required to have a well-define set up, which could be reproduced for every contest team and for any single run. With that, the second major objective of the event, which was to define a benchmark for robotic cleaning, was a natural byproduct of organizing a fair contest.