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.
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.
|Venue||Number of teams||Number of countries||Number of participants|
|RoboCup 2016 Leipzig –|
|RoboCup 2015 Hefei –|
|RoboCup 2014 João Pessoa –||358||45||2,900|
|RoboCup 2013 Eindhoven –||410||45||3,033|
|RoboCup 2012 Mexico City –||381||42||2,356|
|RoboCup 2011 Istanbul –||451||40||2,691|
|RoboCup 2010 Singapore –||500||40||3,000|
|RoboCup 2009 Graz –||407||43||2,472|
|RoboCup 2008 Suzhou –||373||35|
|RoboCup 2007 Atlanta –||321||39||1,966|
|RoboCup 2006 Bremen –||440||35|
|RoboCup 2005 Osaka –||387||36|
|RoboCup 2004 Lisbon –||345||37|
|RoboCup 2003 Padua –||238||35|
|RoboCup 2002 Fukuoka –||197||29|
|RoboCup 2001 Seattle –||141||22|
|RoboCup 2000 Melbourne –||110||19|
|RoboCup 1999 Stockholm –||85||23|
|RoboCup 1998 Paris –||63||19|
|RoboCup 1997 Nagoya –||38||11|