RoboCup U.S. Open, 04/28-29 2017, Miami, FL

The University of Miami is hosting the RoboCup U.S. Open 2017. It is the RoboCup Federation's intention to use RoboCup as a vehicle to promote robotics and AI research, by offering a publicly appealing, but formidable challenge. One of the effective ways to promote science and engineering research is to set a challenging long term goal. When the accomplishment of such a goal has significant social impact, it is called a grand challenge project. Building a robot that plays soccer fully autonomously will not by itself generate significant social and economic impact, but the accomplishment will certainly be considered a major achievement for the field. We call this kind of project a landmark project. RoboCup is a landmark project as well as a standard problem. The proposed that ultimate goal of the RoboCup Initiative can be stated as follows:

By the middle of the 21st century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win a soccer game, complying with the official rules of FIFA, against the winner of the most recent World Cup.

The Federation proposes that this goal will be one of the grand challenges shared by the robotics and AI communities for the next 50 years. This goal may sound overly ambitious given the state of the art of technology today. Nevertheless, we believe it is important that such a long-range goal should be set and pursued. It took only 50 years from the Wright Brothers’ first aircraft to the Apollo mission, to send a man to the moon and safely return him to the earth. It also took only 50 years, from the invention of the digital computer to Deep Blue, which beat the human world champion in chess. Building a humanoid soccer player requires an equally long period and extensive efforts of a broad range of researchers, and the goal will not be met in the near future.

The RoboCup Standard Platform League is a one of the RoboCup soccer leagues where all teams participate using the same robot, the NAO robot from SoftBank Robotics. These robots play fully autonomously and each one takes decisions separately from the others, but they still have to play as a team by using communications. The teams play on a green field with white lines and goal posts, with no other landmarks, and the ball consists in a realistic white and black soccer one. These game characteristics generate a very challenging scenario, which allows improving the league every year.


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