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.
[ RoboCup 2011 ]
Evan Ackerman is the senior writer for IEEE Spectrum’s award-winning robotics blog, Automaton. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and emerging technology, covering conferences and events on every single continent except Africa, Antarctica, Australia, and South America (although he remains optimistic). In addition to Spectrum, Evan’s work has appeared in a variety of other online publications including Gizmodo and Slate, and you may have heard him on NPR’s Science Friday or the BBC World Service if you were listening at just the right time. Evan has an undergraduate degree in Martian geology, which he almost never gets to use, and still wants to be an astronaut when he grows up. In his spare time, he enjoys scuba diving, rehabilitating injured raptors, and playing bagpipes excellently.