Robot Soccer team at UT brings back the gold

UT's Robot soccer team brought back the gold (KXAN Photo)
UT's Robot soccer team brought back the gold (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The UT Austin Robot Soccer team won the Robo Cup Monday, after competing in Beijing’s World Robot Conference.

The team competed against Australia’s University of New South Wales Runswift in a robotic game of soccer, beating the competition by four points with a final score of 7-3.

To compete in the games, the students must create a team of robots that are able to play soccer by themselves with no human input. After purchasing the robots, the students program and write all of the software making the robots intelligent enough to compete in the game.

“The robots are telling each other where they believe the ball is, where they believe they are on the field, if they’ve fallen down or not, and then they also decided who goes for the ball,” said UT student Josiah Hanna.

Runswift experienced technical problems at the beginning of the challenge. “Firstly, one of our robots just died, and it wouldn’t turn on,” said Jeremy Collette. “We’ve been using that robot for three or four days straight, and just before the final it stops.”

The referees were able to detect which robots were connected to a wireless network, so that the teams knew which ones to replace. Every year the rules of the competition change, making the challenge more difficult. “We have a slight advantage that most of our team is graduate students, PhD students and masters students. A lot of the other teams are undergraduates,” said Master’s student Josh Kelle.

One of the changes made this year was the color of the ball, it switched from bright orange to a traditional soccer ball making it more difficult for the robots to visually detect. The Robo Cup is an annual international robotics competition founded in 1997, with over 40 teams participating.

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