RoboCup 2015 kicks off in China

An American team beats an Iranian squad 5-4 in this year’s RoboCup final. 

Hot on the heels of its Women’s World Cup victory, the United States has another piece of soccer hardware to add to its collection this year. That’s because a team of American humanoid robots have defeated an Iranian squad in the finals of the 2015 RoboCup held in Hefei, China.


For those unfamiliar with the event, RoboCup is an annual international robotics competition that was first proposed in 1995 and founded in 1997, bringing together engineers, students and Makers alike as they compete against one another via humanoids on a small-scale, artificially-turfed indoor football pitch. The ultimate goal is that one day maybe, just maybe, they will be skilled enough to beat an actual soccer team.

The “players,” which vary in shapes and sizes, are divided into one of eight divisions. Some require the competitors to develop robots with the same hardware and different software, while others call for the machines to be built from scratch.

When robots initially began playing soccer, it was a feat in itself just to have them see the ball, let alone stay upright and kick. Nowadays, these bots are capable of autonomously running up and down the field, scoring goals and even sensing when the ball is nearby. However, as you can see from the video below, they’ve still got some ways to go before they get past Tim Howard or Hope Solo.

This year’s showdown attracted over 300 teams from 47 countries, with a group from University of Pennsylvania (named THORwIn) beating a team from Iran in a tight-fought 5-4 battle between adult-sized bots. What’s more, RoboCup’s opening ceremony featured various robot technologies, while two banners for the occasion were held by drones.

[Image: IB Times]

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