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Publication Details

Application Of Intelligent Automata to Reconnaissance

by Rosen, C. A. and Nilsson, N. J.

Technical Report
Institution: Stanford Research Institute
November 1966.

Note: Project 5953 Interim Report 1
From the Nilsson archives – SHAKEY papers


This report describes the results of research during the first eight months on the project “Application of Intelligent Automata to Reconnaissance.” The primary goal of this project is to investigate techniques in artificial intelligence applied to the control of a mobile automaton in a realistic environment. The main emphasis is in the design of a hierarchy of computer programs that will accept visual and other sensory information from the automaton and direct its actions toward the completion of missions requiring the abilities to plan ahead and to learn from previous experience.

The automaton itself is a four-wheeled, self-powered vehicle with two simple arms for grasping objects. It will carry a television camera an optical range-measuring device, tactile sensors, a transceiver, and storage and routing logic. The vehicle will be radio-controlled by an SDS 940 time-shared computer. The computer, with the aid of special image-processing hardware, will analyze television pictures transmitted from the vehicle and will calculate a sequence of vehicle actions designed to accomplish the task(s) given to the automaton. Calculation of the appropriate action sequence will be performed by problem-solving computer programs which will use internally-stored “models of the world” generated and abstracted during the course of automaton explorations.

The environment of the automaton, initially, will be a 20X30 foot room populated with simple objects. Sample tasks will include transporting these objects and arranging them in specified ways, under stated constraints. Later it is planned that the automaton attempt more complex tasks in the larger, richer environment of corridors and offices outside of its computer room.

At the present time most of the special hardware has been designed and is scheduled for completion by 1 April 1967. With the SDS 940 computer now delivered , programming the actual vehicle will begin in four months. In the meantime, simulation experiments concerned with representations or models of the environment, control strategies, and pattern recognition are being conducted.

Looking beyond the duration of the present project, toward the goal of building increasingly sophisticated automata, it will be important to initiate several independent but contributory research efforts as soon as possible. The most important of these concerns the problems of threedimensional visual perception and pattern recognition.

Appendicies include:

Electronic Copies

Adobe PDF



Associated Projects


Application of Intelligent Automata to Reconnaissance

Development of the original robot Shakey for exploring AI problems.

AIC Personnel

Name Title E-mail
Bennion, David R. Alumnus
Crane, H. D. Alumnus
Forsen, George E. Alumnus
Green, Milton W. Alumnus
Keckler, W. G. Alumnus
Larson, Robert E. Alumnus
Nilsson, Nils J Alumnus
Rosen, Charles A. Alumnus
Shapiro, Elmer B. Alumnus
Wensley, John H. Alumnus

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