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Motivated by the desire to replace a Hero 2000 robot in Carnegie Mellon University's Learning Robot Lab, a robot was designed by a group of several students (under the direction of Reid Simmons ) to provide a new test-bed for research and to participate as Carnegie Mellon University's entry in the 1993 AAAI Robotics Competition. This required a tight time bound of 9 months from initial design to competition entry.

Xavier is built on top of an RWI B24 base, built by Real-World Interfaces, Inc. The base is a 24" diameter, four-wheeled, synchro-drive mechanism. Sensors include bump panels, a Denning sonar ring, Nomadics laser light striper, and a Sony color camera mounted on a Directed Perception pan/tilt head. On-board computation consists of two 66 MHz Intel 486 computers, and an on-board color 486 laptop, all connected to each other via Ethernet and connected to the outside world via a Wavelan wireless card.

Xavier has a distributed, concurrent software system, which runs under both the Mach and Linux operating systems. All programming is done in C, and processes communicate and are sequenced and synchronized via the Task Control Architecture .

Communication with Xavier is graphical (via the laptop), remote (via zephyr), and speech-driven. An off-board Next computer runs the Sphinx real-time, speaker independent speech recognition system and a text-to-speech board provides speech generation. Thus, we can give verbal commands to the robot and the robot can respond verbally to indicate its status. In addition, a graphical user interface is available for giving commands and monitoring the robot's status.

Last Updated: 28Jan96 josullvn+@cs.cmu.edu