You know the robotics industry has reached a new level when it claims that robots, which are now competing against each other on the soccer field, will defeat humans at their own game one day. The organizers of RoboCup Soccer, a World Cup of football-playing robots, believe that they can achieve this goal by 2050.
Thousands of football-playing robots from 40 countries gathered at the Dutch technology hub of Eindhoven last week to participate in RoboCup 2013, which kicked off on Thursday and finished Sunday.
“RoboCup is a worldwide project. The goal of the project is: Build a soccer playing robot that looks like a human and that can win from the human world champion in 2050,” the RoboCup 2013 website read.
“By [the] mid-21st century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win [a] soccer game, complying with the official rule of the FIFA, against the winner of the most recent World Cup,” the RoboCup official website said.
Established in 1997, RoboCup is an international scientific initiative whose original mission was to create a team of robots that could defeat human soccer players. While that goal still remains, RoboCup has since expanded to improve the use of robotics in other domains such as assisting emergency response teams in rescue operations.
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At RoboCup Soccer, scientists aimed to pit many robot players against each other in a competitive environment. The soccer field was chosen as the mode of experimentation to test the robots' abilities to function individually and as part of a team. RoboCup Soccer focused on creating teams of autonomous, cooperative robots, which exhibit advanced competitive behaviors and strategies.
The organizers created multiple competition classes for the tournament, including small and large robots, humanoid robots and even virtual robots. The ultimate plan was to combine all these techniques into a single squadron of improved robots that would challenge humans one day in a man vs. machine face-off.
According to RoboCup Soccer rules, once a game starts, there is no human interference permitted, except for introducing substitutions, when humans are allowed to replace a damaged robot, or when referees eject a robot for fouling an opponent, Associated Press reported.
The robots were capable of using different kicks for passing and shooting, while communicating their positions through wireless Internet connections. Each of the robots could play every position equally well and could flawlessly shift roles among each other, according to AP.
Take a look at the video here to see the soccer-playing robots in action: