2019 RoboCup kicks off

Image credit: Anna Kucera

Robotics teams and experts have converged on Sydney to compete in the 2019 RoboCup, aiming to claim the World Champion title.

Held for the first time in Sydney, 170 teams including 1,200 participants from research laboratories and universities around the world will compete not only in soccer, but robotic urban search and rescue missions, manufacturing, logistics and home assistance challenges.

According to University of New South Wales professor Claude Sammut, the competition aims to improve and challenge the capacity of artificial intelligence and robotics.

“In the standard platform league, all teams use the same hardware – the physical humanoid robot,” said Sammut.

“The test is to create the best software, so the teams must push technological boundaries to try to create robots with the best movement, vision processing, decision-making and strategy in order to win.”

With competition already underway at Sydney’s International Convention Centre, the public are invited to attend the semi-finals and finals held on July 6 and 7.

Representing local university UNSW, who is a co-host of the event, is the rUNSWift team, who have won the standard platform category in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2014 and 2015.

In the spirit of advancing robotics with each competition, every year the competition gets harder, according to rUNSWift student team leader, Kenji Brameld.

“At the end of each meet, all teams release their code so we can all analyse what the best teams have done in an attempt to create robots with winning strategies. This is why the competition is more and more challenging every year,” said Brameld.

Last year’s winner, Nao-Team HTWK, from the Leipzig University of Applied Sciences, are defending their crown from last year’s competition, held in Montreal.

Combining hands-on involvement in software and mechatronic engineering with the experience of working alongside some of the leading researchers in AI and robotics, the employability of students who compete in the cup is greatly increased, according to Sammut.