A team of soccer-playing Australian robots and their human programmers have won the RoboCup robot soccer tournament for the second year in a row after defeating a German team 3-1.
As ABC reports, the Aussie team of University of New South Wales (UNSW) engineers have defended their title in Shanghai, China, with their team of five robots beating those from the University of Bremen and DFKI (German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence).
Footage of Australia’s slow and robotic (but ultimately glorious) victory has made its way online, and proves just how intelligent our soccer-playing minions have now become. The robots fall over quite a lot, of course, but that’s not so different from most human soccer players, and it adds to the overall authenticity of the event.
Following Australia’s victory, team leader Sean Harris, a PhD student at UNSW’s School of Computer Science and Engineering, said the final wasn’t an easy win.
“We only won 3-1, last year we won 4-1 in a more of a one-sided game,” Harris said. “The biggest advantage was our ability to walk faster than everyone else. We were able to take off quicker and get to the ball faster, and that really proved the difference for us.”
In the final, teams weren’t allowed to control their robots, and had to let them play for themselves using their fine-tuned soccer-friendly algorithms.
“We’ve been writing this code base since we started in RoboCup back in 1999,” Harris said.
“Everyone builds on the work of previous students and alumni who have participated. We code things up and then every week at home we play practice games and [do] little training drills.”
UNSW’s soccer-playing robots are now recharging their batteries after defending their title and doing the country proud.
The next RoboCup will be held in Leipzig, Germany, and will see competitors challenged by the introduction of regular size children’s soccer balls.
Elsewhere, an Aussie teen has defended his Rubik’s Cube-solving world title by almost clocking a world record.