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Artificial Intelligence FAQ: Open Source AI Software 6/6 [Monthly posting]
Section - [6-12] Robotics

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   A list of pointers to sources of robotics information on the Internet.
   [Robotics Internet Resources Page]

Robotic Simulation (Planning Testbeds and Simulators):

 * See Steve Hanks, Martha E. Pollack, and Paul R. Cohen, "Benchmarks,
   Test Beds, Controlled Experimentation, and the Design of Agent
   Architectures", AI Magazine 14(4):17-42, Winter 1993.

 * The ARS MAGNA abstract robot simulator provides an abstract world in
   which a planner controls a mobile robot. This abstract world is more
   realistic than typical blocks worlds, in which micro-world simplifying
   assumptions do not hold. Experiments may be controlled by varying
   global world parameters, such as perceptual noise, as well as building
   specific environments in order to exercise particular planner
   features. The world is also extensible to allow new experimental
   designs that were not thought of originally. The simulator also
   includes a simple graphical user-interface which uses the CLX
   interface to the X window system. ARS MAGNA can be obtained by
   anonymous ftp from 

   as the file ars-magna.tar.Z. Installation instructions are in the file
   Installation.readme. The simulator is written in Nisp, a macro-package
   for Common Lisp. Nisp can be retrieved in the same way as the
   simulator. Version 1.0 of the ARS MAGNA simulator is documented in
   Yale Technical Report YALEU/DCS/RR #928, "ARS MAGNA: The Abstract
   Robot Simulator". This report is available in the distribution as a
   PostScript file. Comments should be directed to Sean Philip
   Engelson <>.

 * Erratic, a mobile robot simulator and controller by is
   available by anonymous ftp from

 * The Michigan Intelligent Coordination Experiment (MICE) testbed is a
   tool for experimenting with coordination between intelligent systems
   under a variety of conditions.  MICE simulates a two-dimensional
   grid-world in which agents may move, communicate, and affect their
   environment.  MICE is essentially a discrete-event simulator that
   helps control the domain and a graphical representation, but provides
   relatively few constraints on the form of the domain and the agents'
   abilities.  Users may specify the time required by various activities,
   the constraints on an agents' sensors, the configuration of the domain
   and its properties, etc.  MICE runs under XWindows on Un*x boxes, on
   Macs, and on TI Explorers, with relatively consistent graphical
   displays.  Source code, documentation, and examples are available via
   anonymous ftp to  MICE was
   produced by the University of Michigan's Distributed Intelligent Agent
   Group (UM DIAG).  For further information, write to

 * RSIM, a SGI-based simulator from the University of Melbourne, with very
   nice graphics, is available by anonymous ftp from

   Write to for more information.
 * Simderella is a robot simulator consisting of three programs: CONNEL
   (the controller), SIMMEL (the robot simulator), and BEMMEL (the
   X-windows oriented graphics back-end). SIMMEL performs a few matrix
   multiplications, based on the Denavit Hartenberg method, calculates
   velocities with the Newton-Euler scheme, and communicates with the
   other two programs.  BEMMEL only displays the robot.  CONNEL is the
   controller, which must be designed by the user (in the distributed
   version, CONNEL is a simple inverse kinematics routine.)  The programs
   use Unix sockets for communication, so you must have sockets, but you
   can run the programs on different machines.  The software is available
   by anonymous ftp from []

   as the file simderella.2.0.tar.gz. The software has been compiled using
   gcc on SunOS running under X11R4/5 on Sun3, Sun4, Sun Sparc 1, 2, and
   10, DEC Alpha, HP700, 386/486 (Linux), and Silicon Graphics
   architectures. For more information, send email to Patrick van der
   Smagt, <>. 

 * RP1 is a Java-based robot simulator.  It allows applications to build
   arbitrary landscapes and a data-configurable robot which can interact with
   a simulated environment or solve a virtual maze.  The system provides
   abstract features that model real-world objects such as walls, light
   sources, and goals.  For more information, see:

               Planning testbed

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