- Toyota has created a 6-foot-10-inch basketball-shooting robot named Cue 3.
- Cue 3 uses a set of sensors on its torso to measure its distance from the basket and adjust its shots. In a recent test, the robot made five of eight 3-point shots.
- Toyota built Cue 3 to demonstrate the robot’s use of “visual feedback” when shooting. Cue 3 can’t run, dribble, or execute the other fundamentals necessary to play alongside humans.
Could NBA athletes be the next victims of automation? Probably not, but a new robot created by Toyota has the skills to beat a professional basketball player in a shooting contest.
Toyota’s Cue 3 is a 6-foot-10-inch robot built to shoot basketballs. The robot uses sensors on its torso to judge the distance and angle of the basket and uses motorised arms and knees to execute set shots. While Cue 3 can’t run, jump, dribble, or execute any other basketball fundamentals, it does have an amazingly accurate shot.
During a recent demonstration witnessed by The Associated Press, Cue 3 made five out of eight 3-point shot attempts, which Toyota developers say is below its usual average. Cue 3’s shooting percentage from the 3-point range during the demonstration was 62.5%; the NBA’s single season record is 53.6%, which is held by Kyle Korver. The two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, widely regarded as the league’s best shooter, has a 43.6% career average on 3-point shots, which is the fifth-highest career average of all time.
Last year, Toyota’s original Cue robot won a shooting contest against two players on the Alvark Tokyo, a team in Japan’s professional basketball association, the B.League.
Toyota engineers told The Associated Press that the Cue robot is designed to demonstrate the use of visual feedback. The robot’s shots demonstrate the accuracy of its sensors and its ability to adjust based on the data it receives. The first Cue robot debuted last year and was designed to hit shots from free-throw range. The updated Cue 2 was shown off in December.
Keep in mind that Cue 3 can’t run, dribble, or pass, so there’s no real basketball comparison between the robot and professional athletes. Alvark player Yudai Baba said he’d be willing to welcome Cue 3 as a teammate if it could learn a few tricks.
“We human players are still better for now,” Baba told the AP.
A Toyota engineer said it would take about 20 years for robots like Cue 3 to incorporate skills like running, dribbling, and – of course – dunking. Toyota will host another Cue 3 demonstration during halftime at an April 10 B.League game between Alvark Tokyo and Sun Rockers Shibuya.
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