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Robot Squad is Ready to Kick Some Balls

RoboCup Nao Group
Photo Credit: RMIT University

Australia’s RMIT University has named its squad to compete at the largest robotics and artificial intelligence competition in the world.

According to a recent press release, the football squad announced for RoboCup 2020 in Bordeaux, France, features a promising mix of experienced AI researchers and enthusiastic young rookies.

450 other teams and 5,000 robots from 45 countries will be competing in front of an expected 40,000 fans.

The competition will hold different challenges that include the following:

  1. Emergency rescue challenges
  2. Logistical challenges
  3. Humanoid football, which will be the headline event featuring state-of-the-art, fully autonomous Nao robots, which think and act for themselves

Who are Involved?

The Team Coach has been involved in the event since 2010, as both a competitor and team leader.

He explained that the highly competitive environment is an ideal venue for students to learn about the challenges of autonomous robotics.

Moreover, the event will be the perfect place where researchers can apply their latest advances.

The problems that needed solving in the competition are the same problems in need of solutions in large-scale robotic applications like autonomous cars.

The Team Manager is another experienced campaigner and is returning to the competition after 20 years. He competed in one of the original leagues back in 1999 as a young computer science graduate.

Back then, the basic, low-cost robots looked a bit like old stereos rolling around and crashing into one another, in pursuit of an orange golf ball.

The team’s Assistant Coach specialises in computer vision applications, such as the collision avoidance system for forklifts he had recently developed.

He cannot wait to test his latest algorithm and techniques in a new setting.

A Computer Science student will be working with the Assistant Coach on the computer vision and views it as a chance to learn from the very best.

Another student, who is joining the team, had always wanted to work in the field of AI and robotics after she saw cute Nao robots dancing on the stage.

A fellow student, also a team member, fancies his programming skills and has wanted to apply them to advanced robotics for some time.

The competition is the perfect opportunity to do that with some of the university’s best.

Preparing for the Competition

Memorable moments include models delivering some astounding results after weeks, if not months, of being refined.

The process serves as a reminder of how much AI has contributed to the society.

But along with the experience of leading AI researchers and the enthusiasm of youth, the team may have one more trick up their sleeves.

They are doing an original tweak to the Nao robots, which they claim will be giving them the edge in Bordeaux, France.

Details cannot be shared but the bots will be having the survival instincts and creativity to outsmart all of the competition.

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