These robots are learning to play soccer and are in training for the Robo Cup which like the World Cup for people, will be held in Brazil later this year.
On show at the CeBIT tech conference in Sydney, the aim of the tournament is to advance robotic and artificial intelligence research around the world to a point where by 2050 teams have developed fully autonomous humanoid robots that could potentially win against the best soccer champions in the world.
The robots make decisions entirely on their own – there’s no controller and they use machine learning – but as you can see from the video below, they’ll have their work cut out to go up against the Ronaldos of the world.
Business Insider spoke to the University of Newcastle’s Robo Cup development team who won both the 2006 and 2008 Robo Cup competing against research and development teams from all over the world.
“The idea is to actually improve robotics in general but the actual goal of the Robo Cup is to by 2050 have the current human FIFA world champions play a team of robots and have the robots hopefully win,” University of Newcastle robotics engineering PhD student Trent Houliston said.
“The competition really drives this sort of research.
“Every year they increase the difficulty [of the game requirements] so it will become harder and harder.”
The technology which is used in the robots is starting to be applied to other sectors including health and manufacturing.
The technology which enables these robots to see the soccer ball is also used in medical diagnostics to detect cancer. The walking and motion technology is also helping manufacturing processes and space travel.
The team is using machine learning techniques to sense the environment and program the robots to play soccer.
“They play soccer all by themselves, totally autonomously,” Houliston said. “They make decisions all by themselves.”
Emotional robotics expert Dr Aaron Wong said while the 2050 goal is possible there is a lot of development work which still needs to be done perfecting the technology.
Watch them in action:
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