Robot Soccer Players Learning Fancy Human Skills

In the past, most humanoid robot soccer competitions have consisted of repeated kicking of the ball towards the goal and (for all practical purposes) not too much else. Ambitious algorithms and programming have fallen victim to sensors and hardware that can't always keep up, as well as opponents who tend to interfere in carefully planned strategies. However, we're starting to see some exceptionally clever robot maneuvers leading up to RoboCup 2011 in Istanbul, which had its first round of matches just yesterday.

These two videos come from the Darmstadt Dribblers, whom you may remember as the victors in the KidSize bracket at RoboCup 2010. They show the robots practicing both human-style throw-ins, and a skilled passing game that avoids obstacles, all completely autonomously:

Impressive. Most impressive. Personally, I think we humans are doomed, especially considering that it was two years ago now (i.e. foreverago in robot years) that a team of non-humanoid robots actually managed to score on a team of humans in a friendly game.

[ Darmstadt Dribblers ]

[ RoboCup 2011 ]

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