It may not rival the FIFA World Cup in the public imagination just yet, but the international tournament that has just wrapped up in Montreal plans one day soon to become the showcase for the world’s best soccer players.
Teams from 35 countries have competed in this year’s RoboCup, including 5 000 robots and 4 000 humans.
The name RoboCup is a contraction of the competition’s full name, the Robot Soccer World Cup. The event has been running since 1997, inspired in part by the victory of IBM’s Deep Blue programme over the then world chess champion, Gary Kasparov.
Just as Deep Blue challenged the chess establishment, the organizers of the RoboCup tournament have thrown down the gauntlet to the international governing body of association football. The official goal of the competition states, “”By the middle of the 21st century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win a soccer game, complying with the official rules of FIFA, against the winner of the most recent World Cup.”
It promotes robotics by offering a formidable challenge for scientists in the framework of a publicly appealing competition. The robots must be able to control a football, communicate with their teammates and outmanoeuvre their opponents.
Unlike the human version of the World Cup, the RoboCup includes contests for different robot sizes. The humanoid robots still have a fair way to go before they can stay upright, let alone challenge the likes of Messi and Ronaldo, although they do get up more quickly than their human counterparts when they fall down.
Elsewhere, the mid-size robots look very impressive as they fight for position, shoot and block goal shots. Here are the highlights of the mid-league final between a Dutch team from the Eindhoven University of Technology and Portugal’s University of Aveiro:
IEC produces International Standards for many of the technologies that robots incorporate including sensors, batteries, and hardware products.
- IEC TC 2 develops Standards or rotating electrical machines, including the drives and motors used in industrial robots
- IEC TC 17 prepares Standards for switchgear and controlgear;
- IEC SC 21A develops Standards for batteries containing alkaline or other non-acid electrolytes,
- IEC TC 22 develops Standards for power electronic systems and equipment,
- IEC TC 47 develops Standards for the design and use of semiconductor devices, including sensors. Among its subcommittees, IEC SC 47F specifically addresses micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) while IEC SC 47E provides Standards for sensors used in imaging, motion and distance detection.
- IEC TC 91 is responsible for Standards used in electronic assembly technologies including components.
In addition, the Joint Technical Committee of IEC and ISO on information technology (ISO/IEC JTC 1) prepares Standards used for artificial intelligence including the internet of things and cloud computing. In 2017, a new subcommittee on artificial intelligence, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 42, was set up. It held its first meeting in April.
The legendary, English football manager, Brian Clough, once described the Italian champions, Juventus, as a team of robots. One day in the not too distant future, that may be a compliment.