July 4th, 2008

Robots: Robot Soccer

To close this year’s soccer season after Spain’s victory in the EUROCUP we went to the robotic kingdom to see who was driving the game. With Prof. Manuela Veloso from Carnegie Mellon University and President-Elect of
the International RoboCup Federation, we’ll be looking behind the scene of the best known competition in robot soccer. Finally, we’ll be discussing the future of artificial dribblers and their odds against the human 2050 world champions with a poll and discussion on our forum.

Manuela Veloso

Robot SoccerManuela Veloso is Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, President-Elect of
the International RoboCup Federation and leader of the Coral Research Group (Cooperate, Observe, Reason, Act, and Learn). Since the first official Robocup soccer games in 1997, she’s been active in presenting teams to the Sony AIBO 4-legged league, the smallsize league, simulation league and Segway league with a great success at adding stars to the shirts of her robotic players with numerous first places in world and US championships.

In this episode we’ll be focusing on CMDragons’ cookie-box-like omni-wheeled robots from the small size league and their off-board perception.



We’ll also be looking at how the CMDash team has tamed the AIBO robot dogs to perceive their world and cooperate in a decentralized manner. Veloso gives us some insight on the challenges related to competing against different opponents and the need for teams to adapt during the games.



Finally, since the AIBOs are no longer produced, the RoboCup Federation is now making way for the Nao humanoid as the next challenging platform in robot soccer along with other research driving leagues such as the Nanogram league previously featured in Talking Robots (see Brad Nelson‘s interview).

Poll

Do you think robots will be able to beat humans at soccer by 2050?

Yes
No


View results

More discussions on this topic on our forum.

Links:


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Visit the Robots Forum for links and discussions about
Pixar Animation’s Wall-E Robot Movie, the cutest robots as selected by TIME magazine and the 2008 European Robot Football Cup mentioned in the podcast.

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  • Anonymous

    Come on, have you people seen any of these robot competitions? There is no way!

  • Bender

    all you guys who voted yes… you should take the evolution of the human players into account… imagine how football will look in 10 years (Bruno Costa will be 18 by then :-))

  • WALL-E

    All you guys who voted no… you should take the evolution of the robot players into account… ;)

    Or maybe bionic players would be most promising?

    At least that’s the artists vision, seems Adidas and Puma believe robots and soccer sells – the combination has something fascinating, the battle of human vs. machine taken to sports…

  • Anonymous

    Robots will NEVER beat humans!! -Just because humans have virtuosity robots shall never have… sorry :)

    anyway, I thought a pity the robots do not "congratulate" after scoring! Would be pretty funny to see them pile-up!

    congrats for the cool podcast&forum!

  • Bender
    lancelot wrote:Robots will NEVER beat humans!! -Just because humans have virtuosity robots shall never have… sorry :)

    hmm, I wouldn’t subscribe to that… I agree that Bruninho&Co. will win for some years to come, but at some point there is no doubt the robots will win. Apart from the physical weakness of humans (strength, endurance, precision etc.), imagine the advantages of almost unlimited strategic memory, blind understanding etc.

    Bender

  • Johnny 5
    Bender wrote:
    lancelot wrote:Robots will NEVER beat humans!! -Just because humans have virtuosity robots shall never have… sorry :)

    hmm, I wouldn’t subscribe to that… I agree that Bruninho&Co. will win for some years to come, but at some point there is no doubt the robots will win. Apart from the physical weakness of humans (strength, endurance, precision etc.), imagine the advantages of almost unlimited strategic memory, blind understanding etc.

    Bender

    The devil is in the details I think. I would argue that even with today’s technology we could build a humanoid who can beat all top human goalkeepers in penalty kicks by simply kicking the the ball very very very hard. Ball velocities would be positively dangerous, so would such a robot be allowed to play?

    And if that sort of robot can be built today, why not build a robot that can do the same form the 16m line. Or the mid line. Or have to goalkeeper score directly. :)

    For me the vision of a team of humanoid robots working in unison and artistically juggling the ball like current world class human players at their best is very inspiring. And I think this vision is great, I think it is a fantastic motivation and I hope it will inspire many people in the future.

    However, I think it is important to keep in mind that the final outcome – the robots we will have in 2050 – might be very different from what we imagine today. Just like the final outcome of the "mechanical horse" dreamt up long ago as a modern way of locomotion turned out to be very different.

  • Andrew

    Hard to decide…

    There are at least 2 robots’ capabilities to weight up: mecanic and AI.
    In my opinion, we will achieve in 40 years the technology to build mecanical
    bodies similar to ours. With the same number of ddl or more.

    After that and regarding to the IA area, I hope that we will be able to develop
    by 2050 an IA enough powerful to use fully the capabilities of the mecanical
    bodies. For that, we have to work hard during the next 40 years. ^^

  • WALL-E

    Johnny, that mechanical horse is awesome, I’m sure it will replace those old fashioned cars sometimes in the future :)

    Andrew, I agree: it will keep generations of PhD students busy over the next 40 years ;)

  • Number 6

    OK not quite ronaldo yet…still a ways to go, but maybe in 50 years?

    Robocup 2008 – 3-player humanoid teams

  • Johnny 5

    Awsome! Terminator 0.0.1 (Alpha)… ;)

  • Anonymous

    It will pass well over 40+ more years before Robots can meet up with the speed of Humans let alone the most important part, Dribbling.

    We still have a long way to go and besides Humans in the aspect of Football seems to be advancing in hourly basis. You compare the performance of a particular player last year to this present year.

  • cyclona

    post deleted.