Waiting with Jose, a vision-based mobile robot

Jose is a visually guided autonomous robotic waiter. He circulates around a room populated by groups of people, politely serving appetizers to humans. The serving task combines elements of robotics with human computer interaction, challenging control architecture with multiple task integration. This paper describes our purely vision-based approach to this task. Methods for mapping, localization and navigation are presented and discussed, including issues of safety for both robots and humans. Our work on human-robot interaction is covered, as well as our solutions to various tasks specific to serving food. We present results of our methods from sample experiments in our laboratory. We further discuss our experiences at the 2002 AAAI mobile robot "Hors D'oeuvres Anyone?" competition, at which Jose took first prize.