engineering careers  Robot World Cup sees Germany win on penalties
engineering careers  Robot World Cup sees Germany win on penalties

RoboCup 2016 saw more than 3,500 participants from over 40 countries descend upon Leipzig, Germany.

Gerhard Kraetzschmar, the games chairman, explained that over 500 teams of humanoid, wheeled, and Nao-bots came to compete across four different leagues because they shared one mission; “to develop humanoid soccer-playing robots that can beat the FIFA world champion team”.

Robocup was created in 1996, with the first league matches taking place in 1997 in Nagoya. Since then robots abilities have increased exponentially, with the games inspiring research in actuation concepts, and the development of better “artificial muscles” to improve physical agility. Improvements in battery technology have increased the stamina of the robots on the pitch, and finally, leaps in autonomous system design have meant programmers have been able to prepare their robots better for unforeseen situations.

The centrepiece of the games is the “Standard Platform Competition”. All entrants use the same 23-inch “Nao” robot which was made by France’s Aldebaran Robotics and contestants are asked to develop its software to make it capable of playing football. The teams compete in a five-a-side match on a 6m pitch. The game consists of two ten minute halves.

The German team, B-Human, managed to beat the University of Texas’ “Austin Villa” 3-0 when the game went down to penalties.

Whilst the games showcase how far robotics have come in the last 20 years, there is clearly some distance to go before they are able to outmatch their human counterparts on the pitch.


Past Events

VenueNumber of teamsNumber of countriesNumber of participants
RoboCup 2016 Leipzig –
RoboCup 2015 Hefei –
RoboCup 2014 João Pessoa –358452,900
RoboCup 2013 Eindhoven –410453,033
RoboCup 2012 Mexico City –381422,356
RoboCup 2011 Istanbul –451402,691
RoboCup 2010 Singapore –500403,000
RoboCup 2009 Graz –407432,472
RoboCup 2008 Suzhou –37335
RoboCup 2007 Atlanta –321391,966
RoboCup 2006 Bremen –44035
RoboCup 2005 Osaka –38736
RoboCup 2004 Lisbon –34537
RoboCup 2003 Padua –23835
RoboCup 2002 Fukuoka –19729
RoboCup 2001 Seattle –14122
RoboCup 2000 Melbourne –11019
RoboCup 1999 Stockholm –8523
RoboCup 1998 Paris –6319
RoboCup 1997 Nagoya –3811